Record Cyber Monday sales in US

Cyber Monday sales were on course to bring in a record US$9.2 billion, according to evening estimates.
Record Cyber Monday sales in US

Amazon workers perform their jobs inside of an Amazon fulfillment center on Cyber Monday in Robbinsville, New Jersey, US, on Monday.

Cyber Monday sales were on course to bring in a record US$9.2 billion, according to evening estimates, building on a bumper Black Friday weekend for US retailers driven by earlier-than-usual promotions and free shipping.

Shoppers have already had nearly a month of offers and deals as retailers look to draw out their vital holiday season, which is six days shorter this year due to a late Thanksgiving.

Adobe Analytics predicted that US$72.1 billion was spent online in the month ending December 1 and Cyber Monday — now traditionally the US economy’s biggest Internet shopping day — had logged a 16.9 percent jump in sales over the year prior as of 7pm ET.

Adobe, which measures transactions from 80 of the biggest 100 US retailers, said it marked down its prior US$9.4 billion forecast slightly as more data came in. Inc and rivals such as Target Corp and Walmart Inc were poised to benefit from the event, having beefed up delivery services to fulfill online orders more quickly. In-store pickup of online orders has become smoother, too, said Carol Spieckerman, president at consultancy Spieckerman Retail.

“At the end of the day, Cyber Monday is just Black Friday revisited so the momentum, and the deals, really started last week,” Spieckerman said.

Adobe also said US$3 billion of the estimated sales would be from smartphones, a new US record.

Large companies did well in this channel, outpacing small businesses due to investment in mobile apps and other technology, as well as to larger product and deals selections, said Taylor Schreiner, director of Adobe Digital Insights.

“The big companies are still getting disproportionate growth versus the small ones,” he said.

The day’s shopping in the United States still paled in comparison to Alibaba’s “Singles Day” last month, when the Chinese e-commerce giant raked in US$38.4 billion in sales.

The event was not all smooth sailing for the world’s biggest online retailer, Amazon. Protesters, who have described poor treatment of warehouse workers and rising climate emissions from the company’s push for speedier deliveries, marched outside CEO Jeff Bezos’ Fifth Avenue penthouse in New York City on Monday. “We’re humans, not robots,” read one sign.

Amazon spokeswoman Kristen Kish said unions and groups funded by competitors were “conjuring misinformation” about Amazon, which had industry-leading pay and benefits. The company aims to be carbon neutral by 2040.

Activists also tried to blockade a shopping mall in Paris, denouncing the spread of Black Friday to European shores.

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