Consumer spending on Cyber Monday met expectations, with consumers spending $11.3 billion, up 5.8% from a year earlier, according to the latest Adobe Analytics figures. The spending spree was so strong that during the peak shopping hours of 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, consumers spent $12.8 million per minute.
Adobe predicted consumers would spend between $11.2 billion and $11.6 billion on Cyber Monday.
Toy sales were a major driver of overall sales, posting a more than six-fold increase compared to a year earlier. Other product categories posting strong sales were sporting goods, appliances, books, and jewelry, each of which saw more than a four-fold increase from a year ago. Sales of electronics and computers were also strong, with each category posting a more than three-fold increase from 2021.
Discounts played a key role in propelling Cyber Monday sales to higher levels than the previous year, Adobe says. According to Block Inc.’s Square unit, which tracks Cyber Monday sales through its merchant network, the average discount was 21%.
Toys were heavily discounted, with consumers seeing markdowns of as much 31% off list prices compared to 19% a year ago, according to Adobe. Markdowns on computers were 20%, doubling from 10% a year ago. The product category seeing the biggest increase in discounts this year was appliances, which were 16% off list price, compared to 4% a year earlier, according to Adobe.
“With oversupply and a softening consumer-spending environment, retailers made the right call this season to drive demand through heavy discounting,” Vivek Pandya, lead analyst, Adobe Digital Insights, says in a prepared statement. “It spurred online spending to levels that were higher than expected, and reinforced e-commerce as a major channel to drive volume and capture consumer interest.”
Another factor driving consumer spending was net-new demand. The Adobe Digital Price Index, which tracks e-commerce prices across 18 categories, shows that online prices declined 0.7% in October, compared to a year earlier.
When it comes to how consumers are paying for their holiday gift purchases, buy now, pay later remains a popular option. BNPL transactions through Block’s Afterpay service have increased 120% since Black Friday, the official start of the Christmas shopping season in the United States, the company said. The trend is in line with pre-holiday research conducted by Square in which one in six U.S. consumers said they plan to purchase a gift during the holiday shopping season using BNPL.
Gift cards continue to be a top-selling item, with more than 245,000 physical and e-gift cards sold so far this holiday shopping season, Square says. Food and beverage, beauty and personal care, and health care and fitness were the top gift card categories. Retailers offered discounts of 21% on average for gift card purchases between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Many Square sellers used Square Marketing to advertise their offers and drive sales, Square says.