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Social Sites Help eCommerce (and Your Annual Reality Check)

The results are in: Cyber Monday (and Black Friday) = success! The numbers are actually up from last year, despite the state the economy is still in. And according to Hitwise, social sites helped to drive sales. (Yeah, FOR REAL.)

Top 5 FB Retail Websites small

Their data shows that not only was US traffic up to social sites over the holiday weekend, but downstream traffic to online retailers was also up—especially to Amazon (Cyber Monday winner), Wal-Mart (Black Friday winner), Target, Best Buy and Toys R Us. Wal-Mart also saw the highest increase in downstream traffic from Twitter (among the Retail 500 that Hitwise tracks).

However, let me just pull out my favorite wet blanket—sort of. Let’s see, how can I put this? #1—Cyber Monday is a made-up holiday. Nobody outside of Internet marketing/retailing has ever heard of it and it has nothing to do with their shopping patterns. However, there’s good news here, too. We are a nation (world?) of procrastinators—and another day is actually the biggest (revenue-wise) online shopping day of the year—and it’s yet to come.

The thinking behind Cyber Monday, created in 2005, was that workers returning from their Thanksgiving holiday would use the Internet to do a lot of their holiday shopping. (At work? Don’t they have the Internet at home, where they have all those glossy ads from stores to compare prices? Were they too lazy/agoraphobic to go out on Black Friday? (Hey, no worries, me too.) Clearly, the logic behind this “holiday” was always flawed.)

Two years ago, it was “Green Monday” (although now there seems to be some confusion as to whether that label applies to the first or second Monday in December)—with $881M in online sales (versus $733 on Cyber Monday, tied for tenth among the big online sales days in 2007). Last year, it was the day after Green Monday, with $887M (versus $846M on Cyber Monday)—but with this year’s Cyber Monday total the same as last year’s highest sales day (and last year’s highest sales day only a 1% increase over the year before), could we hope for anything higher?

  • http://www.visible.net Visible Ecommerce

    Great write up and report Jordan. I think the industry anticipated another substantial gain this holiday shopping season (which social networks most definitely contribute to), but many were skeptical as to whether the margin would be as drastic as in past years. I’m glad to see that online sales are still going strong, but it’s also sad to see how many traditional retail stores are suffering this year due to the surges in online shopping and the economy. In past years I’ve done most all of my holiday shopping online, but this year I plan to buy half of my gifts online and half from retail stores within my community, which I hope others will also consider.
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