Cyber Monday is underway after a disappointing weekend for retail. Sales amongst physical retail stores over the past four days were down 11% from the same period last year. There was $50.9 billion in sales this Thanksgiving weekend compared to last year's $57.4 billion. Hopes for ecommerce, however, are high. Online holiday shopping throughout the U.S. and Europe has already surpassed $130 billion according to Forrester Research. Online sales on Thanksgiving and Black Friday grew 32% and 26% over 2013, according to comScore. Mobile payments are also increasing. On Cyber Monday in 2013, 38% of shoppers said they used smartphones to shop, up from 23% in 2012.
Harvey Kanter, CEO of Blue Nile (NILE), an online jewelry retailer, has seen the increase in mobile sales firsthand. Over 20% of their sales come from mobile devices, including big-ticket items like diamonds. “Over the last four-day period we saw over 60% of our traffic coming over mobile devices and an increase in traffic overall,” says Kanter. He is seeing the millennial customer embrace buying items through mobile devices. “We’ve seen multiple $250,000 plus sales via mobile, on a phone or a tablet.”
Kanter has also seen a boost in traffic from China where brick-and-mortar shopping isn’t as big of an institution as it is in the United States.
Between Wednesday, November 26th and Saturday, November 29th, Blue Nile saw a 20% overall growth in web traffic, and they expect it to continue.
Blue Nile has spent the last year and a half building a website that allows easy access from any device—be it a desktop, tablet or cellphone. “We did that specifically to allow the mobile experience to continue to grow and develop,” he says.