We noticed quite a few vendors getting a jump on Cyber Monday this year, posting Black Friday deals online. As a result, Paypal benefited from a 27 percent increase in total payment volume on Black Friday 2010 compared to one year ago, Yahoo News reports.
"The tough economy has made shoppers more price-conscious, and this year's Black Friday results show that they're going online to find the best deals," said Amanda Pires, senior director at Paypal. "With the convenience of shopping from a laptop or mobile phone, more people are choosing to avoid the long lines, parking chaos, and early morning rush in exchange for great online deals available from the comfort of their homes."
Not surprisingly, mobile shopping proved popular this year, too. Paypal noted a whopping 310 percent increase in overall mobile shopping compared to last year's Black Friday, while Ebay -- the online auction site that owns Paypal -- saw a 30 percent increase in mobile bidding.
Here's some good news for e-tailers looking to get back in black. According to market research firm comScore, eCommerce for holiday season to date has totaled $9.01 billion, a 13 percent increase over the same time period one year ago.
"The beginning of the online holiday shopping season has gotten off to an extremely positive start, outperforming our earlier expectations," said comScore chairman, Gian Fulgoni. "Despite continued high unemployment rates and other economic concerns, consumers seem to be more willing to open up their wallets this holiday season than last. While this early spending surge reflects, in part, heavy promotional activity on the part of retailers occurring earlier this season, it is nevertheless a very encouraging sign."
It's also indicative of more spending to come, comScore suggests. The analytics firm predicts holiday spending for the November-to-December period to hit $32.4 billion, an 11 percent gain over last year's numbers. Helping the cause are the free shipping promotions, such as those being offered by Walmart and Best Buy. Some 77 percent of respondents indicated that free shipping is either 'very important' or 'somewhat important' to their purchasing decision.
We can think of several things we'd rather do than go elbow-to-elbow with rabid shoppers on Black Friday, one of which involves bamboo and fingernails. We're not alone, either. According to a new survey by market research firm Compete, more bargain hunters are planning to do their shopping online on Cyber Monday (Monday following Thanksgiving) than in brick-and-mortar stores on Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving).
Some 45 percent of respondents said they'll click their way to savings on Cyber Monday, as opposed to 37 percent who will fight traffic, lack of sleep, and frenzied shoppers on Black Friday.
In terms of money spent, Black Friday still comes out on top with shoppers expected to spend $353 million. By comparison, Cyber Monday is 'only' expected to generate $233 million in sales. Huh? According to Compete, the discrepancy has to do with more people shopping high-end goods on Black Friday, particularly electronics, clothing, toys, and games.
North Carolina residents who frequently shop at Amazon.com can breathe a sigh of relief, while privacy rights groups can give each other high fives. You see, state officials wanted Amazon to fork over sensitive information, including names, addresses, and what items North Carolina residents purchased between 2003 and 2010. Rather than comply, Amazon decided to fight the good fight...and won.
According to U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman, the request seeks too much and "runs afoul of the First Amendment." She then granted Amazon a summary judgment.
In siding with Amazon, Pechman said state officials have no need for such details. "In spite of this, [North Carolina] refuses to give up the detailed information about Amazon's customers' purchases, while at the same time requesting the identities of the customers and, arguably, detailed records of their purchases, including the expressive content."
It should be noted that Amazon doesn't have any offices or warehouses in North Carolina, and so the company has no legal obligation to collect the state's 5.75 percent sales tax.
Online auction site eBay is looking to entice users to spend a little more heavily by working with PayPal on a new cash back program. Any eBay shopper that lives in the US, and makes a purchase with PayPal will earn 2% cash back. The service is (cunningly) called eBay Bucks.
Purchases made on the website, as well as on mobile apps will count toward the program. However, come areas of the eBay site will not figure into a user's eBay Bucks balance. These include Classifieds, Business & Industrial Capital Equipment, eBay Motors, and Real Estate categories. At the end of each three month period, users will be issued a voucher as a payout. The eBay Bucks have to be spent within 30 days, and users will have to use PayPal as the payment processor.
Ebay claims that in a trial period, users in the Bucks program spent five times more than regular users. Only time will tell if the wider eBay user base will respond in kind.
Alright, smart shoppers. Start your engines, grab your plastic cards, and let's get shopping. But not just yet. You'll want to grab this week's Firefox Extension of the Week, The Camelizer, if you want any shot at making informed purchasing decisions. And by that, I mean waiting until the time is just right to pick up whatever it is you're hunting after from one of the major retailers of your choice.
Click the jump and get ready to do some hardcore shopping... Firefox-style!
Thriving online retailers in the U.S. have nothing to worry about, or at least that's the case according to a new report by market research firm Forrester Research.
According to Forrester Research, the online retail business in the U.S. has a good shot at growing 10 percent a year compounded annually, climbing as high as $249 billion by 2014. Things are looking good in Western Europe too, where sales are expected to jump 11 percent annually over the next five years.
So what items are driving this kind of growth? Not too surprisingly, computer hardware, software, and peripherals are the big sellers, accounting for than half for half of U.S. online sales as a percentage of total category sales. Consumer electronics and clothing are two other areas that are also doing extremely well.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday kicked off the holiday shopping season, and according to Sony, it also underscored better-than-expected early holiday demand, particularly for its PlayStation 3 console.
"We saw a very positive sales increase television, computers, and PS3 in particular," Sony Chief Executive Howard Stringer told a group of reporters today. "I don't think there were any negatives, but we need a little more time to find out how big it was."
The company has reason to be excited. After basically introducing the mobile music market some three decades ago with its Walkman, Sony has since faced stiff competition with South Korean rivals and a handful of U.S. IT firms. Apple's iPod now rules the portable music scene, and Samsung leads the way in the global flat screen television market.
Going forward, Sony sees an opportunity to turn things around by focusing on batteries.
"Don't forget we started lithium-ion batteries at Sony... If you produce the right battery, they will come," Stringer added. "It's worth putting our best engineers at it... It's worth a shot, I think."
Forget about dealing with pushy crowds and getting up in the wee morning hours during a holiday vacation only to have to wait in line for that one item everyone else is after as well. According to comScore, an increasing number of consumers opted to plant their rumps on the couch or home office chair and shop the Black Friday deals online rather than venture out into the real world.
For the holiday season to date, some $10.57 billion has been spent online, which is 3 percent more than the same time period one year ago. And on Black Friday, consumers spent $595 million online, marking an 11 percent increase over last year. That also ranks as the second heaviest online spending day so far in 2009.
"Black Friday, better known as a shopping bonanza in brick-and-mortar retail stores, is increasingly becoming one of the landmark days in the online holiday shopping world," said comScore chairman, Gian Fulgoni. "The $595 million in online spending this Black Friday represents the second heaviest online spending day of the season-to-date and a double-digit increase from last year. While this acceleration in spending suggests the online holiday season may be shaping up slightly more optimistically than anticipated, it may also reflect the heavy discounting and creative promotions being put forth by retailers that now encompass the use of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter."
Fulgoni went on to say that Cyber Monday (today) and subsequent weeks will provide the real measuring stick for how online retailers fare this season, but that they're off to a great start.
Second verse, same as the first! It's Cyber-Monday, that retailer-coined holiday term that's supposed to be a continuation of Black Friday deals mainly offered via online purchases. It remains to be seen whether this day is actually a "prime" shopping day or not, as not nearly as many retailers are offering as good of a discount as what you might have seen this past Friday (or weekend, for that matter).
Suffice, Cyber-Monday is here, and we've rounded up a list of items that might catch your fancy if you're into that whole "I like to buy goods and services when they cost less than their original price" sort of thing. Without further ado, click the jump and get ready to spend!