Do consumers finally get that online shopping beats crowded malls?

Despite a decline in Black Friday weekend sales in the U.S. at physical retail locations, e-commerce sales were better than ever and Canadians continue to plan shopping online in the lead-up to Christmas, according to studies released this week.

With Washington-based National Retail Federation reporting that Black Friday weekend sales were down more than 11 per cent, and that 6 million fewer shoppers went out to stores for this year’s sales event, you’d think that retailers might be suffering a case of the Winter Blues. But spirits are sure to be picked up by the success retailers – large and small alike – are having online.

Consumers spent $2.65 billion online on Cyber Monday alone for a 16 per cent growth over last year’s spending, according to Adobe Digital Index. Adobe Inc’s statistics from its Marketing Cloud suite capture 70 per cent of the spending done with the top 500 retailers in the U.S., giving insight into online shopping trends. While Cyber Monday has historically been considered a lesser, follow-up event to the annual Black Friday sales that mark the largest consumer shopping day of the year for Americans, following their Thanksgiving, the latest numbers show that it may be growing into the main event.

The news was good for both larger retailers and small retailers. The top 25 retailers saw an increase in sales of 25 per cent, and smaller retailers also grew in sales by five per cent, according to Adobe. The software vendor’s analytics engine tracked more than 400 million visits to 4,500 retail websites.

The trend towards online shopping isn’t just an American phenomenon. Canadians are also more keen on online shopping heading into the holiday season, according to a survey conducted by Ipsos Reid on behalf of Visa Canada.

More than six out of 10 Canadians say they plan to buy at least one gift online this year. Four out of 10 say they will do more online shopping this year than in previous years.

Visa is marketing its Visa Checkout service that allows shoppers to sign-in to pass on their payment credentials to an online retailer without having to type out their credit card information all over again. Since abandoned shopping carts are a common problem when it comes to e-commerce, making the check-out as smooth as possible is a good idea.

The Ipsos Poll of 1,006 Canadians was conducted between Nov. 20-25 and is accurate within 3.5 percentage points.

All in all, retailers looking to make the most out of these big shopping calendar days don’t have to try very hard to read the tea leaves. The path to a consumer’s wallet is increasingly turning to e-commerce channels.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Brian Jackson
Brian Jackson
Editorial director of IT World Canada. Covering technology as it applies to business users. Multiple COPA award winner and now judge. Paddles a canoe as much as possible.

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