The US online retail sector delivered double-digit growth on Black Friday 2010 compared to the same period last year, according to analytics-based findings by IBM's web analytics and marketing optimisation company, Coremetric.
Black Friday is traditionally referred to the first Friday following Thanksgiving and marks the start of the pre-Christmas shopping season.
These findings expand on IBM's earlier forecast that in-store sales of consumer electronics and appliances in U.S. retail stores would get an early start this year, with consumers spending a larger-than-usual share in November.
An analysis of the online retail sector in IBM's third annual Black Friday Benchmark Report, reveals the following trends compared to Black Friday 2009 (year-on-year):
- Consumer spending increases: Online sales were up a healthy 15.9 per cent, with consumers pushing the average order value (AOV) up from $170.19 to $190.80 for an increase of 12.1
- Luxury goods make a comeback: Jewelry retailers reported a 17.6 per cent increase in sales. These affluent shoppers appear very willing to open their wallets.
- Surgical shopping: Consumers know what they want and where to get it. People are viewing 18.0 fewer products on sites than they did last year, suggesting that they are shopping with a specific item in mind and quickly moving on.
- Social shopping: Consumers appear increasingly savvy about their favorite brands' social presence, and are turning to their networks on social sites for information about deals and inventory levels. While the percentage of visitors arriving from social network sites is fairly small relative to all online visitors - nearly 1 per cent - it is gaining momentum, with Facebook dominating the space.
- Mobile shopping: Consumers are also embracing mobile as a shopping tool. On Black Friday, 5.6 per cent of people logged onto a retailer's site using a mobile device, a jump of 26.7 per cent compared to the prior Friday.
"On Black Friday, consumers came, they clicked and they shopped their way across the internet, and this time, they weren't just looking for bargains," said John Squire, chief strategy officer, IBM Coremetrics. "Consequently, we're watching online retail, and increasingly social media and mobile, become the growth engines for retailers everywhere as consumers embrace online shopping not only for its ease and convenience, but as a primary means of researching goods and services."
- Department stores have become the research engine of choice for consumers looking for Black Friday deals and product promotions. As a consequence, shoppers are spending 17.7 per cent more time year over year on department store sites.
- Health and beauty also reported a rise of 73.1 per cent in the number of new consumers completing their first purchase on their sites and a 53.4 per cent jump in the number of visits in which consumers completed an order.
- In-store sales in the consumer electronics and appliances sector are expected to increase 3.5 per cent this year compared to last, with consumers spending a larger-than-usual share in November, according to an analytics-based forecast from IBM's Global Business Services division.
US consumers have been increasing their savings relative to disposable income, from 2 per cent in 2007 to nearly 6 per cent today, leading to strong pent-up demand this holiday season for consumer electronics and appliances, both of which are typically seen as necessities in the present-day economy.