Cyber Monday projected to hit $7.8B in online sales, $2B spent via smartphones

Cyber Monday 2018 is projected to be the highest-selling day of the holiday season this year, with $7.8 billion in online sales. And it’s no wonder: after a weekend of people juggling shopping online with shopping in stores, and hassling with each other in stores, today many go back to work. And so, we see a significant swing to online shopping.

Adobe — which tracks trillions of transactions across the U.S. among major retailers online — predicts that today will see $7.8 billion in sales online, up 18.3 percent on 2017’s figure of $6.6 billion. Smartphones alone will account for $2 billion in sales, a high watermark.

As of 7 AM PST / 10 AM EST on Monday, that prediction appears to be on track. Adobe says that consumers have already spent over half a billion dollars — $0.531 billion, specifically — with online retailers. (It will continue to update this figure throughout the day, and we will update as well.)

But it’s not only daytime shopping that will net large returns for retailers.

Adobe estimates that the “three golden hours of retail”, between 10:00 pm and 1:00 am Eastern, will bring in $1.6 billion, “roughly $200 million more compared to an average full day in the year.” The idea here is that shoppers catch final Cyber Monday deals right before bed or after work on the west coast. Subsequent conversion rates peak above 7.3 percent for the season (almost 2.5 times higher compared to the rest of the year).

The report also suggests that Cyber Monday will be the best day to buy toys online, with savings of 19 percent on that product category. Some apparel, however, may be out-of-stock, Adobe says.

So far on this Cyber Monday, shoppers have again relied heavily on their mobile devices. Smartphones accounted for 58.9 percent of visits to retail sites, versus 34.7 percent for desktops and 6.4 percent for tablets. That’s an increase of 32.1 percent growth in smartphone visits over last year. Smartphones also have accounted for 42.6 percent of sales thus far, or 43.0 percent year-over-year growth.

Although holiday spending used to kick off on Black Friday, e-commerce and the trend of shopping whenever you want — and not just when a store is open — has led to sales and seasonal promotions — and shopping — earlier and earlier. There has been $50.62 billion spent this month online so far, already passing Adobe’s full-month projections of $43 billion.

So far, the biggest spending day of the year has been Black Friday, where online U.S. sales hit $6.2 billion, with more than one-third of sales coming from mobile devices. Thanksgiving this year had a record $3.7 billion in sales, while one of the newer “shopping holidays,” Small Business Saturday, rung up $3.02 billion in online sales, said Adobe, up 25.5 percent.

Small Business Saturday kicked off a big Thanksgiving weekend for shopping. Adobe says November 24-25 “was the biggest online shopping weekend in US history” netting $6.4 billion.

But these are estimates, and so you are bound to get a lot of variation.

Mastercard provides a slightly more conservative figure: its SpendingPulse analytics predict that total sales “could exceed” $3 billion. It also estimated that last year’s Cyber Monday sale day brought in no more than $2.4 billion.

While Adobe says that it builds its estimates by tracking transactions at 80 of the biggest retailers online in the U.S., Mastercard tells us that SpendingPulse uses “national retail sales across all payments types in select markets around the world. The findings are based on aggregate sales activity in the Mastercard payments network, coupled with survey-based estimates for certain other payment forms, such as cash and check.”

The real numbers may lie somewhere in the middle.

More generally, strong sales today indicate just how big so-called shopping holidays — and their marketing push — have become for e-commerce.

“Despite some of the best deals coming earlier in the holiday season, the Cyber Monday brand has great staying power. Many shoppers have waited on certain purchases, with three hours tonight expected to bring in as much revenue as an average full day. While certain discounts have remained since Black Friday, out-of-stock rates are starting to peak up and shoppers looking for the hottest products should not wait much longer,” said Taylor Schreiner, director, Adobe Digital Insights.

Additional reporting: Sarah Perez