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Winners and Losers in the Largest US Online Holiday Shopping Season Yet

Mobile and eCommerce shopping hit new highs this holiday season as Cyber Monday yet again beat its own record as the largest online shopping day in the U.S. with over $9.4 billion in eCommerce retail sales. This followed a record day for Black Friday which reached $7.4 billion in online sales while U.S. eCommerce volume on each day grew by nearly 20 percent year-over-year. One channel’s gain is another’s loss, however, as total holiday sales had a much more modest 3.4 percent growth. Department stores saw total holiday retail sales fall nearly two percent, despite growth of 7 percent in online sales. The biggest winner was mobile holiday sales, which increased 55 percent on CyberMonday year-over-year.

Online Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales figures were reported by Adobe Analytics and are even more impressive when considering a late Thanksgiving in 2019 had many consumers starting their holiday shopping before Cyber weekend. Total online holiday sales, from November 1 through December 24, grew 18.8 percent year-over-year. Total retail sales, bogged down by lower growth in brick-and-mortar retail sales, grew just 3.4 percent during the holiday shopping period relative to 2018. These numbers are according to Mastercard’s SpendingPulse.

MasterCard additionally reported that nearly 14.6 percent of U.S. holiday retail sales occurred online for the full November 1 through December 24 period. eCommerce as a share of total retail sales was slightly higher on Black Friday and significantly higher on Cyber Monday at 15.4 percent and 24.5 percent, respectively.

Financial news media often talk about a “retail apocalypse” and exodus from physical retail stores, and although this may be exaggerated holiday sales figures corroborate a somewhat bleak picture. Total holiday retail sales fell 1.8 percent for department stores overall, dragged negative from in-store sales despite online holiday sales increasing 6.9 percent. Total Apparel and Jewelry retail sales grew a modest 1.0 and 1.8 percent, respectively, but Electronics and Appliances fared better with 4.6 percent total retail volume growth. Each of these industries enjoyed considerably higher growth in just the eCommerce channel, especially Jewelry (8.8 percent) and Electronics & Appliances (14.6 percent).

Shoppers aren’t just migrating from store to online, they are continuing to go from desktop to mobile eCommerce. According to data from Comscore, mobile commerce volume increased over 55 percent year-over-year, compared to a 19 percent increase in desktop eCommerce spending on Cyber Monday. Adobe Analytics reported $3.1 billion in mobile commerce on Cyber Monday, or one-third of the total eCommerce sales that day.

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