How Was Cyber Monday?

Cyber Monday Disappoints Adobe

Heading into Cyber Monday, we knew it was going to be a bonanza for online shopping because of the pandemic. According to Adobe Analytics, holiday shoppers spent $10.8 billion online which was up 15.1% from last year. That was way below Adobe’s estimate for $12.7 billion. 

Remember, NRF expects 20% to 30% online sales growth for the season. This weaker than expected sales result caused Adobe to lower its overall online sales projection to $184 billion which is 30% growth. That’s down $5 billion for the original expectation. That means, excluding this miss, they lowered their estimate by $3.1 billion.

One of the culprits of this weaker than expected result was increased sales starting in October. That’s because Amazon Prime Day was from October 13th to the 14th. It’s usually in the summer. Wal-Mart and Target started their deals in mid-October to compete. 

Plus, if there was high growth in spending on necessities, there was no reason people couldn’t make the purchases earlier for self-consumption. The most popular items were Hot Wheels Lego sets and Apple AirPods. Apple AirPods would be a massive story for any smaller company, but this wildly successful product hasn’t moved the needle much for Apple because it is so huge. The iPhone is the most successful product in modern American history.

Chase Results Very Weak

Now that we have actual results from Adobe, I’m less concerned with what the card companies show. That’s because they aren’t perfectly accurate. It’s just what one firm’s customers did. It’s usually not seasonally adjusted, but in this latest update we have data that adjust for the timing of the holiday season. 

As you can see from the chart below, in the week ending on Black Friday, yearly growth was -8.5% and on Black Friday it was -18.6%. Chase has 30 million debit and credit holders. We know there was great weakness at brick and mortar stores. Maybe those stores are more highly represented in this data set. It’s hard to see how sales were down this much if Adobe’s online sales growth reading was so strong.

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