When I wrote about Cyber Monday earlier this week, online retailers were still waiting for the returns to come in and find out if they could heat up what's been a pretty lukewarm online shopping season so far.
Now the results are in, and (of course) they are mixed.
There does appear to be some evidence that folks look for bargains at the office on the Monday following Thanksgiving. According to this Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article, 56 percent of folks with Internet access at work fess up to doing so. And at least some of them bought stuff. This Internet Retailer article cites a comScore report, which found sales hit $846 million, a 15 percent increase over Cyber Monday 2007. Also according to comScore, online spending grew 13 percent in the four days from Friday to Monday. Sales are still sluggish for the Nov. 1 to Dec. 1 time period, though, down 2 percent from a year earlier.
The data in this ClickZ article, however, seems to conflict with comScore's report. It cites the Cyber Holiday Pulse Index, published by payments solution provider Chase Paymentech, which bases the index on order activity at 25 large Internet retailers. Though transaction volume at those retailers rose 14.5 percent, the average ticket value of these transactions dropped 12 percent, resulting in growth of less than half a percent over 2007's index. Chase Paymentech's director of market analysis said it was a similar story throughout November, with more customers buying but spending less.
Hitwise is reporting that traffic to the top 500 retail sites dropped 1 percent on Cyber Monday, according to TechCrunch. Traffic to online-only sites increased 5 percent, while the sites of brick-and-mortar retailers fell 4 percent. Amazon.com was the most-visited retail site, with a 21 percent jump in traffic.