Many US-based retailers and business owners came into the holidays this year in a state of pre-panic, which was understandable given that this year’s holiday calendar means there are six fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. But early reports on how businesses fared during the recent holiday shopping frenzy show that this year’s sales via e-commerce remained solid and even surpassed last year’s sales.
The 2013 Black Friday holiday weekend sales figures (at least as up-to-date as current standings) show $20.6 billion were spent online via retailers’ websites, from consumers who used desktop computers. There was a sixteen percent increase in shoppers who used websites for their holiday discount shopping, possibly due to the growing backlash over both the out-of-control behaviors reported in physical stores and of retailers requiring their employees to work during what many feel is a family time.
Sixty-six million shoppers purchased items through retailers’ websites via computers, as opposed to the growing number of shoppers who are shopping online via mobile devices like tablets and smartphones.
According to the data, released by comScore, Amazon was the top visited website during these holiday spending days beginning on Thanksgiving, followed by eBay, Walmart, Best Buy, and Target. The last three stores have traditionally been associated with some of the more notorious reports of physical violence and injury during Black Friday sales, and it’s refreshing to see that more shoppers are choosing to stay out of the physical stores while still benefiting from the steep discounts.
Many retailers are continuing the discounted offerings today, which has come to be known as Cyber Monday in recent years due to the online specials, and hope that any deficits in projected holiday earnings can be made up for with online shopping.
Part of the increase in Amazon traffic may be attributed to its admitted growth in Prime membership and the resulting free two-day shipping option, as well as its heavy advertising of Black Friday specials leading up to the actual shopping day. Despite being the most visited retailer, however, comScore reported that apparel and fashion were the top selling categories for the holiday weekend, followed by computer hardware, then consumer electronics.