Shopping sets record in sales

How did Black Friday and Cyber Monday perform this year? According to Adobe, www.adobe.com, it was another record year with $11 billion in sales.

Cyber Monday took in $6.6 billion, while Black Friday pulled in $5 billion. Thanksgiving Day generated $2.9 billion in sales (https://adobe.ly/2AOM3zW).

According to Shopify, www.shopify.com, during peak sales times on both days, people were spending roughly $1.1 million per minute. That more than doubled the peak sales spending in 2016 (http://bit.ly/2ANR7og).

In fact, people spent $1 billion more on Cyber Monday 2017 than they did on Cyber Monday 2016.

Consider this: All the packages that were shipped as a result of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, at the end of their journeys, will have traveled a combined 12.6 billion miles to reach their destinations. That’s the distance from the Earth to Pluto — and back.

Shopify also noticed several trends coming out of shopping on the two days:

• Mobile shopping surpassed desktop shopping on both days for the first time. Mobile sales accounted for 64 percent of overall orders.

• Cyber Monday is catching up to Black Friday in terms of overall merchant order volume. Online purchasing is climbing in relation to physical purchasing on Black Friday.

• E-mail had the highest conversion rate for online ordering, beating social media, direct marketing and search marketing. E-mail marketing and e-mail newsletters are thriving.

• The top selling items on Black Friday and Cyber Monday were, in order from most to least, apparel, accessories such as watches and wallets, housewares, shoes, makeup, electronics, food and games.

Now, $11 billion in sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday seems huge — and it is. A billion is big, no question.

But let’s put it in context. Overall holiday spending this year is forecast to hit $680 billion dollars, which means those two days account for a small part of the total spending.

Online sales alone during the holiday shopping season is expected to reach or surpass $100 billion for the first time, which would be about one-sixth the total holiday spending.

Five out of every six people will still be making their holiday purchases in brick and mortar stores.

Also, as I mentioned in a previous column, total retail sales for the year will top $3 trillion dollars.

So, while online shopping is becoming an important part of the holiday shopping experience as each year passes, online is still a small part of a very big economy.

Again, I’m not disparaging $11 billion in total sales and spending that tops $1 million a minute.

But we live in an era of large numbers, and what used to be mindboggling amounts a few decades ago are now “couch change” numbers in relation to the even bigger figures that are now routinely used.

We are no longer impressed by a million of anything when a billion is the coin of the realm. Online shopping is growing, but it still has a long way to go before it dominates all shopping.

Keith Darnay is the Tribune’s online manager and has worked in the online world for more than two decades. His site is at www.darnay.com.

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