By Tonya Garcia
Cyber Monday will likely be the biggest online shopping day of the year, however, it could fall short of the final tally in 2020.
The news comes from an Adobe /zigman2/quotes/200389143/composite ADBE +4.37% forecast that predicted between $10.2 billion and $11.3 billion after sales of $10.8 billion last year.
This forecast came after Black Friday sales fell when compared to last year, finishing at $8.9 billion after $9.0 billion in sales in 2020. Sales on Thanksgiving Day were flat at $5.1 billion.
Adobe attributed the declines to strong sales early in the season. From Nov. 1 through Nov. 28, retailers rang up $99.1 billion in purchases, up 13.6% year-over-year.
“Online sales on big shopping days like Thanksgiving and Black Friday are decreasing for the first time in history,” said Taylor Schreiner, Adobe Digital Insights director, in a statement.
“With 21 days in November driving over $3 billion in spend, what we know [is] Cyber Week is starting to look more like Cyber Month.”
Another new development is the decline in Cyber Monday promotions. Televisions are still the best deal, according to Adobe, with discounts of about 16%, though prices were down 19% last year.
Supply chain problems persist, with Adobe reporting that out-of-stock messages were up 16% compared with the weekend of Nov. 20 and Nov. 21, but shelves were not as bare as anticipated.
“In speaking with customers, I would say expectations were very low and there was a sense that stores were in better shape than predicted,” said David Ritter, managing director in the consumer and retail group at Alvarez & Marsal, in a statement. Alvarez & Marsal is a professional-services consulting firm.
“There were certain categories that seemed in worse shape than others — electronics, pet, and apparel all had significant out-of-stocks in select stores.”
Even if things weren’t as bad as expected over the weekend, Ritter suggested that customers get items on their lists quickly.
“One interesting note — in many of the stores I visited staff indicated that all product had been pushed to the floor in a ‘get it, while we have it’ approach that could hint at impending issues later in the holiday season,” Ritter said.
Sensormatic Solutions data found that trips to stores were still down 28.3% compared with 2019, though shoppers were heading back to brick-and-mortar in an effort to bypass problems that could arise from having orders delivered.
“One driver of this increased traffic could be ongoing supply chain challenges and shipping delays, which are resulting in consumers shopping earlier to ensure their gifts arrive on time,” said Brian Field, senior director of global retail consulting, Sensormatic Solutions, in a statement. Sensormatic Solutions is part of Johnson Controls /zigman2/quotes/203776087/composite JCI +2.35% , which is focused on security, sustainability, automation and more in buildings.
Field expected customers to use the full range of services, including buy-online-pickup-in-store, to get presents under the tree by Dec. 25.
On Nov. 27 and Nov. 28, use of buy-online-pickup-in-store services was down 10% from last year, “an indication that consumers are feeling more confident about their spending capabilities,” Adobe noted.
The SPDR S&P Retail ETF /zigman2/quotes/206947004/composite XRT +3.33% has run up nearly 50.4% for the year to date. The Amplify Online Retail ETF /zigman2/quotes/206522380/composite IBUY +6.01% is down 10.8%. And the S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +2.39% has gained 24.2% for the period.