Holiday Central

Online sales hit another record on Cyber Monday, as shoppers continue gobbling up deals

Adobe data: Lego sets, Barbie among top selling toys
Adobe data: Lego sets, Barbie among top selling toys

The hits just keep coming.

After touching a new sales record of $3.34 billion on Black Friday, shoppers continued to take advantage of retailers' steep discounts on Cyber Monday, pushing the reigning king of online shopping days to another all-time high.

Sales on Cyber Monday increased 12.1 percent over the prior year, to $3.45 billion, according to Adobe Digital Insights. That handily topped the firm's projection for 9.4 percent growth, despite greater-than-expected sales on Black Friday.

The lift quelled concerns that consumers had simply shifted some of their purchases to Thanksgiving week, and showed a growing consumer appetite for scooping up deals online. It was also enough to make up for a slowdown in spending surrounding the election, causing the firm to maintain its season-long online sales forecast of $91.6 billion. That would represent 11 percent growth.

Adobe's figures were released at roughly the same time as The Conference Board's latest reading on consumer confidence, which reached its highest level in more than nine years in November.

"It's an incredible milestone, but it's also incredible that Black Friday inched so close to Cyber Monday this year, generating only $110 million less in online sales," Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst at Adobe Digital Insights, said in a statement. "We'll be watching this closely next year as Black Friday could be the one to top the records."

Adobe's data measures 80 percent of all online transactions from the top 100 U.S. retailers.

Packages shipped from Inc. move along a conveyor belt at the United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) Chicago Area Consolidation Hub (CACH) facility in Hodgkins, Illinois, U.S., on Monday, Nov. 28, 2016.
Luke Sharrett | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Cyber Monday rounded out what has been a solid start to the digital holiday shopping season, with retailers including Kohl's, Wal-Mart, Target and Amazon setting various online records over the five-day stretch that started Thanksgiving.

Along with strength at Amazon, the larger bricks-and-mortar chains outperformed, growing their online sales about 2 ½ times the rate of smaller retailers, Mickey Mericle, Adobe's vice president of marketing and customer insights, told CNBC.

"They've figured out the key, which we're seeing is really the combination of social and mobile and email," she said.

But such growth also came at the expense of stores. According to ShopperTrak, visits to brick-and-mortar locations fell 1 percent on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. While that was a more modest dip than several in the industry had been expecting, it nonetheless showed that consumers are allocating more of their budgets toward the web.

Separate data from the National Retail Federation's consumer survey found that 3 million fewer people visited stores this Black Friday weekend, while 5.5 million more shopped online. In total, 108.5 million people said they shopped online, compared with 99 million who said they did so in stores. Bricks-and-mortar stores still account for the lion's share of overall sales.

"We believe Black Friday weekend represented a modestly positive kickoff to [the] holiday," Deutsche Bank analyst Paul Trussell said.

A large chunk of the selling season lies ahead for retailers, as fewer people reported completing their shopping over Black Friday weekend, and more people hadn't started yet. In all, the National Retail Federation expects sales in November and December to rise 3.6 percent, to $655.8 billion.