Cyber Monday set a record for online sales, tracking services said this week, capping a five-day span of strong Web and mobile sales.
Despite being barraged with frequent and early promotions throughout November, U.S. consumers spent $2.68 billion online on the Monday after Thanksgiving, a 17 percent increase from 2013, according to Adobe Digital Index, a unit of Adobe Systems Inc. that publishes research on digital marketing based on data from more than 5,000 companies. About 21 percent of that spending came from mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, it found.
Between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday, total online sales came in at $9.6 billion, a 20 percent increase over last year. Also, 19 percent of online sales were made using mobile devices, according to Adobe.
"This holiday retail season is looking good, and online is looking even better," said Chris Christopher Jr., director of consumer economics at IHS Global Insight. He said a contributing factor to the strong sales was that 13 million more people received their paychecks on Monday -- the first day of the month, a frequent payday -- compared to last Cyber Monday.
Custora E-Commerce Pulse, which tracks more than 100 U.S. Internet retailers, found that Cyber Monday sales grew 15 percent from last year -- making it the biggest day in U.S. online shopping history-- with mobile phones and tablets accounting for more than a fifth of orders. For the holiday weekend, e-commerce revenue rose 15.4 percent from the same weekend in 2013.
"When consumers are viewing images of long lines and chaos at stores in the media, it's very easy to go to what we do all day, which is surf online and use the device that is going to be more pleasant," said Danielle Conte, a Centerport-based retail consultant and founder of customer shopping experience blog YoutailRetail.com.
Not all tracking services agreed on how much spending accelerated. According to IBM's Digital Analytics Benchmark, online Cyber Monday sales grew only 8.5 percent compared with last year. Mobile sales reached 22 percent of online sales, an increase of 27.6 percent year over year.
Cyber Monday's online sales were 30.5 percent higher than Black Friday's, according to IBM. Yet, Black Friday shoppers spent an average of $129.37 per order, compared with $124.11 per order on Cyber Monday, the company found.
"It really is about the entire holiday shopping season as a whole," Conte said. "Black Friday is changing and evolving. It tells us consumers want to shop how they want to shop, where they want to shop and when they want to shop."