Shoppers click ‘buy’ as retailers slash prices ahead of Cyber Monday

(Reuters) -Holiday shoppers in the U.S. are seeking out the best deals and strategically nabbing the deepest discounts ahead of Cyber Monday, according to data from retailer websites aggregated by third parties.

Cyber Monday, the first Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday, is set to be the biggest U.S. online shopping day of the year as merchants have stepped up online promotions.

Strong online traffic on Black Friday demonstrated a notable pattern of shoppers putting time and effort into selecting the lowest-cost, best-value merchandise, said Rob Garf, vice president and general manager for retail at Salesforce, which tracks data flowing through its Commerce Cloud e-commerce service.

Despite an earlier start to retailers’ holiday promotions this year, there weren’t a lot of great deals initially, Garf said. Yet “consumers were patient, diligent, and they played a game of discount chicken. And they won once again.”

On Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, retailers “stepped up the discounting” to roughly 30% on average in the U.S., he said. And “consumers clicked the buy button,” spending $16.4 billion online in the U.S. and $70.9 billion globally that day, according to Salesforce.

“We saw a big spike,” Garf said, adding that the strong Black Friday online outlay would “pull up” the overall tally for the entire Cyber Week, which started on Tuesday and ends on Monday.

On Cyber Monday, Salesforce expects to see discounts averaging 30% again. The risk for consumers, however, is that products may not be available if they wait, he said.

“Limited quantities, while supplies last,” said a notice on on Sunday afternoon. It offered those who perused its site a “sneak peak” at heavily discounted products, such as $9.88 for Bluetooth wireless headphones made by the onn. brand

Walmart said it would make its “Cyber Monday Deals” available starting Sunday at 7 p.m. ET. It promised “early access,” as of Sunday 4 p.m. ET, to discounted items for shoppers who paid the $98 annual fee to join its Walmart + membership program.

Salesforce says it derives its benchmarks for online traffic and spending from data flowing through its Commerce Cloud e-commerce service, which it says provides a window into the behavior of 1.5 billion people in 60 countries traversing thousands of e-commerce sites.

Other firms use different measurements to gauge online shopping patterns.

Rival Adobe Analytics forecasts that shoppers will spend a record $12 billion Monday, 5.4% more than last year, representing what it says will be the largest-ever e-commerce shopping day in the U.S. Retailers are set to dangle average price cuts of 30% on electronics, and 19% on furniture, said Vivek Pandya, lead analyst at Adobe Digital Insights.

Last-minute shoppers on Monday could spend $4 billion between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET alone, Pandya said, “because consumers are going to be concerned about discounts weakening after that.”

Adobe provides merchants with Experience Cloud, a service which powers their e-commerce platforms, giving Adobe a window into aggregate transaction data at 85% of the top 100 internet retailers.

Overall, “consumers are being very strategic, wanting to maximize their shopping when they think they’ll get the best discounts,” Pandya said. “The online retail sector is one of the few where the consumer is a bit more in the driver’s seat,” he said, particularly with toys and seasonal holiday merchandise.

“There are a lot of online merchants vying for their dollar and they can easily compare prices.”

Mastercard, which measures retail sales across all forms of payment, said e-commerce sales rose 8.5% on Black Friday, while in-store sales rose 1%.

“Digital grew dramatically during the pandemic and then it had a reversion to the mean, when people went back to stores,” said Steve Sadove, senior adviser for Mastercard and former CEO of Saks Inc. “Now you are seeing an acceleration in digital, once again. It’s becoming more important.”

(Reporting by Vanessa O’Connell; Editing by Leslie Adler)


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