comScore: Cyber Monday up 15% ~ spike or trend?

comScore released their anxiously awaited numbers today on online Holiday spending this season.  It was good news and consistent with the early returns.

When you look at the numbers for Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday (Nov 27th to Dec 1st) overall spending was up 12% over 2007 levels. Cyber Monday itself was up over 15%.

Ok, let’s look closer. Here’s the tabular data from comScore’s press release:

2008 Holiday Season To Date vs. Corresponding Days* in 2007 Non-Travel (Retail) Spending Excludes Auctions and Large Corporate Purchases.¬† Total U.S. ‚Äď Home/Work/University Locations.¬† Source: comScore, Inc.


Holiday Season to Date

Millions ($)



Pct Change

November 1 ‚Äď December 1








Thanksgiving and Later




November 27 (Thanksgiving Day)




November 28 (‚ÄúBlack Friday‚ÄĚ)




November 29-30 (Weekend)




December 1 (‚ÄúCyber Monday‚ÄĚ)




*Corresponding days based on equivalent shopping days relative to Thanksgiving (October 27 - November26, 2007)

What the numbers are actually telling us is that online Holiday sales from Nov 1st through Dec 1st have been declining steeply with a huge rally from Thanksgiving on that nets out to a 2% year over year drop.¬† As context, remember that¬†ecommerce has enjoyed 13% to 20% organic growth in recent years.¬† There should be strong natural year over year growth just because of the broader adoption of online shopping as part of the fabric of consumer’s lives and the progression of younger netcentric consumers entering the marketplace.¬† I don’t think we are seeing that in these numbers.¬†

What I¬†suspect we are seeing is the initial ’shock¬†and awe’ of the¬†global financial crisis¬†being processed by consumers and the combination of lowering energy prices and tremendous promotions online spurring a Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday rally.¬† The big question is how that will be sustained through the Holidays.¬† I think a lot depends on the macro economic news that impacts us in the next two and a half weeks…. up until the Holiday shipping cut off dates.¬†

I think these numbers are really interesting… and definiately very good news.¬† Yet, in the broader picture, they are not game changing and may not turn out to be sustainable. They remind me a bit of the huge stock market rallys of late… only to be reversed a short time later.¬† The consumer retail market is fundamentally different from the equities market, but retail psychology applies in both cases.¬† Overall comScore is predicting no (zero) growth online for the Holiday 2008 season. We’ll see! Let’s hope for the best.

Tell us what you think! Holiday 2008 online retail… boom or bust?

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