As we noted last month, holiday sales were projected to be strong this season, with the National Retail Federation (NRF) predicting a 3.8%-4.2% rise in holiday retail sales (to $730.7 billion). So how’s the season stacking up?

We don’t obviously have all the numbers in yet, but Oribi, a leading website analytics solution, just released its analysis of online shopping trends for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The study reports consumers bought 340% more on Black Friday and 510% more on Cyber Monday, when compared to an average retail day.

Shoppers started early

It looks like shoppers got an early start this year, likely because the overall official shopping season was a short one. According to Oribi, “the number of purchases made in the week leading up to Black Friday (November 23- 28) doubled, when compared to an average shopping week.” And  the number of purchases made between Black Friday and Cyber Monday doubled, as well. Overall, online sales increased 2.3 times from November 23 to December 2, not including Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Consumers wait for discounts

“Our analysis showed that purchase rates slightly dropped in the middle of November, indicating to us that consumers prefer to wait a week to get a better deal,” says Iris Shoor, Co-Founder and CEO of Oribi. “In fact, our analysis revealed that online stores with an average product price of over $500 dollars saw their highest sales peaks, for the year, on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, underscoring that consumers wait for the discounts that come with these two retail holidays to make more expensive purchases.”

Is Cyber Monday fading?

A report from Yahoo Small Business based on their e-commerce merchants, indicates Cyber Monday sales spikes might be a thing of the past. Their stats show:

  • In 2017, Cyber Monday sales were 26% higher than on Black Friday
  • In 2018, Cyber Monday sales were 17% higher than on Black Friday
  • In 2019, Cyber Monday sales were 7% higher than on Black Friday

This suggests the separate holiday shopping days might be merging into one big holiday shopping weekend, starting on Thanksgiving day and extending through Cyber Monday.

Brick-and-mortar draws shoppers

It’s likely not all the holiday shopping action took place online. According to a report from SRAX, a digital marketing and consumer data management technology company, and the app BIGtoken, a consumer data management and distribution system, 32% of survey respondents were planning to shop in-store and online. You can see a detailed breakdown of holiday shoppers here.

Lessons learned

While the holiday shopping season is not over—and smart retailers will find ways to extend the shopping season into January—e-commerce performance analytics company Profitero says consumers have strong expectations about shipping. Online retailers should keep these in mind year ‘round:


  • Shipping cost is more important than shipping speed:Low/no shipping cost is important to 59% of consumers, while speed of delivery is important to only 35%
  • For older generations, it’s all about low shipping cost:Consumers ages 45+ care most about low/no cost shipping than any other age demographic and are largely unconcerned about speed of shipping.
  • Younger consumers and parents want products fast:81% of consumers ages 25-34 and 78% of consumers with children say same-day or 1-day shipping makes them more likely to buy online.

Holiday shopping stock photo by Tyler Olson/Shutterstock