There were some discrepancies this year between the figures from various firms tracking 2014’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday’s online sales, with IBM reporting only single-digit growth, and others like Adobe and ChannelAdvisor stating Black Friday online sales were up over 20 percent.
But if Walmart’s numbers are indicative of the overall trend here, it’s the latter numbers that can be believed. The retailer is reporting this morning that Cyber Monday 2014 was Walmart.com’s biggest day in its history for online orders.
Walmart is dubbing the five-day period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday (yesterday) “The New Black Friday,” and says that it saw the most traffic and online orders ever during this time.
Customers viewed over 1.5 billion pages on its site at this time, with a whopping 70 percent of its traffic coming from mobile devices.
While mobile traffic and sales have been steadily rising industry-wide, Walmart’s figures related to mobile visitors are some of the highest we’ve seen yet. To give you a sense of how others compare, IBM reported mobile traffic was 46.7 percent of all online traffic on Black Friday.
PayPal says that it saw a 43 percent increase in PayPal mobile shoppers on Thanksgiving, and a 51 percent increase on Black Friday. Other firms saw mobile accounting for somewhere between 27 percent and 30 percent of sales.
Meanwhile, as mobile website traffic increased, traffic from Walmart’s mobile app grew even faster. From Thanksgiving to Saturday, for example, traffic was up over 4 times from the same time last year.
Walmart’s impact on the overall e-commerce market can’t be overlooked. The retailer began running sales a week before Black Friday this year, and is continuing to offer promotions through Friday, December 5th. For competitors, the effect of this heavy online push may have contributed to what seems to be a decline in foot traffic this Black Friday shopping period. ShopperTrack said Black Friday gross sales were down 7 percent, and the National Retail Foundation (NRF) said traffic from Thanksgiving to Sunday was down 5.2 percent.
The NRF cited online shopping and earlier promotions as contributing to the drop during the historically packed and chaotic period, and Walmart was certainly at the head of both of those trends.
Walmart shoppers were especially interested in the company’s electronics deals, buying up things like iPad minis, gaming consoles, HDTVs, and toys. Its top sellers were the LG 49″ HDTV for $398, the 16 GB iPad mini for $199 and the LEGO Giant Creative Tower for $35.
The retailer also specifically targeted the millennial shopper and other working Americans with the timing of its deals, releasing a “Cyber Monday Evening Edition” that contributed to a higher traffic surge in the evening than it had ever seen previously. This is the first year the company tried an evening edition, after finding that 1 in 5 customers didn’t plan to shop until the evening on Monday, with 40 percent of customers claiming that work schedules got in the way.
The “Evening Edition” saw mobile traffic increase over 50 percent this year as well, the retailer says.
Shoppers were offered the option of in-store, same-day pickup after shopping Walmart’s Cyber deals online for the first time ever this year. Two-thirds of U.S. consumers live within 5 miles of Walmart, which makes this option more convenient for those who want a local pickup option.
It also means that Walmart stores could see a boost as online shoppers come into stores for their pickups and end up buying other items. (Walmart says 22 million shopped in stores during Black Friday 2014.) Walmart reports that Monday was its biggest day ever for same-day pickup with orders up 70 percent over last year.
Image credit: Walmart