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Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Changing Consumer


Just like radio, retailers are targeting consumers wherever they are and on every device possible. If you were out and about late last week you probably ran across busy retailers, full parking lots and extra traffic. Shoppers, with Friday off, are always out looking for something to do and a big bargain. If you stayed at home, for sure, your e-mail was being bombarded with online specials from early Thanksgiving Day sales to black Friday specials to Cyber Monday deals. So, how did all that translate to early holiday sales? It depends on who you ask.

The National Retail Federation projected that sales fell 11 percent to $50.9 billion over the long weekend from $57.4 billion last year. Of course it's too soon to tell how the entire holiday shopping season will end up, with three weeks still to go. MediaPost reports comScore had U.S. consumers' online spending via desktops up 32% to $1.01 billion on Thanksgiving Day. Black Friday followed with $1.51 billion in sales, up 26%. Overall, according to comScore, consumers used desktops to spend $22.7 billion online from the start of the holidays to date, up 15% compared with the same days last year. comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni tells MediaPost more consumers want to stay home on Thanksgiving Day to enjoy family and friends, forgoing crowded stores, yet capitalizing on the deals. But not all the data agrees with the comScore figures.

Monetate, which tracks nearly 40 million Web site visits on Black Friday, reports that traditional desktop and laptop sales fell 10%, while tablets rose 7.5%. Tablet traffic accounted for 21.52% of all online traffic, an increase of 6.53% year-over-year. Smartphone commerce transitions rose 38.30%. Smartphone traffic accounted for 20.97% of all online traffic, up 37.06% compared with a year ago. Smartphones and tablets accounted for 42.49% of all online traffic -- up 20.77%. But revenue inched up and smartphone sales fell 34.40%, according to Monetate. Revenue via desktops rose 16.5%, and tablets, 12.20%.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Walmart said Thursday through Saturday represented its all-time highest three-day period in online orders. The world?s largest retailer discovered one fifth of its customers waited until after work to shop online. Visa said purchases by its U.S. account holders rose 17 percent Thursday and 18 percent Friday. The ChannelAdvisor Same Store Sales report for Cyber Saturday had total online sales outpacing projections, coming in at 27%. Amazon was the number one destination at 46% market share. eBay declined from Black Friday's 26.9% to 14.87%, and mobile held steady at 47%.

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