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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : December 01, 2008

Black Friday sales up only 1%, what about Cyber Monday?

Black Friday has come and gone with barely a peep as far as growth; the question is, will sales remain flat through the holiday season? According to a comScore report, Black Friday online sales reach $534 million, a 1% increase year over year. Reports from HitWise indicate that pre-Black Friday sales have also been flat, although traffic is increasing.

by Kristina Knight

What does that mean for etailers?

This could simply be an indicator that consumers are waiting to buy - which could mean that deeper sales or other buying incentives could bring in repeat traffic, therefore more sales.

The HitWise report shows that traffic in the week prior to the US Thanksgiving increased by nearly 60% year over year, which much of the increase going to discounter Wal-Mart. However, overall retail traffic is flat when compared to 2007 numbers.

Offline sales are also a different story. According to comScore, in-store purchases were slightly higher on Black Friday despite the recessionist economy in the US.

"Sales on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday combined increase 2 percent versus year ago," said comScore chairman, Gian Fulgoni. "It's probable that on Black Friday consumers responded positively to the very aggressive promotions and discounts being offered in retail stores, so it will be important to see how they respond to similarly attractive deals being offered online on Cyber Monday, the traditional kick-off to the online holiday shopping season."

Traditionally, Cyber Monday sales have been the most accurate prediction for total holiday sales. In 2005 Cyber Monday sales grew 26%, full holiday season sales increased 25%; in 2007, Cyber Monday sales great 21% with full holiday season sales increasing 19%.

What can etailers do to get the most out of a possibly depressed holiday season?

So far it seems to be all about the sales. Offering 'frequent shopper' incentives, free shipping and percentages off are always good ideas. Another option this year, according to shopping trends, is offering discounts on related items. A video game console at the regular price, for instance, but a discount of games purchased.

Tags: comScore, ecommerce, HitWise, holiday sales forecast, online shopping

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