Post-Mortem: Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2012 Shatter Records

As expected, Black Friday and Cyber Monday shattered previous records for online sales, raking in billions of dollars in revenue. Read on to learn more, along with key takeaways from this all-important sales weekend.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for online businesses.

With shoppers eager to tackle their holiday shopping, Thanksgiving weekend presents a huge opportunity for online retailers. Experts agreed that this year’s most popular days for ecommerce, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, would surpass records from 2011, but not many predicted that we’d see sales of this magnitude.

In case you missed it, here’s a recap of highlights:

Thanksgiving Day makes a splash

While most shoppers and retailers look to Black Friday as the official kickoff for holiday sales, Thanksgiving Day made big gains when it came to online purchases. According to comScore, Thanksgiving Day sales increased to $633M in the US, a 32% increase from 2011. Much of this can be attributed to marketing efforts from retailers, most popularly email sends announcing special “early bird” offers to Black Friday discounts.

Takeaway: The idea of early holiday sales, often referred to as “Black Friday Creep,” is here to stay. As retailers feel the competitive pressure to offer more discounts, earlier, we should continue to see increased sales on the days leading up to Black Friday.


Black Friday surpasses $1B in ecommerce sales

Many shoppers decided to forego the stampedes in exchange for shopping in their pajamas. In fact, Black Friday sales surpassed $1B for the first time, increasing 26% from last year. While this number is highly impressive, more importantly, there were 18% more online shoppers (57.3 million) on this Black Friday than in 2011. Even more, traffic to retail stores was down 1.8%, indicating that shoppers are looking to miss the crowds by shopping online.

Takeaway: The old school notion of shoppers flocking to retail stores at 4am is dwindling fast. Consumer behavior is switching to expect similar deals online than offered in brick and mortar stores, and will continue to do so.

Cyber Monday is the biggest spending day in ecommerce history

Cyber Monday toppled yet another record this year, reaching $1.46B in sales (comScore). This is by far the largest single selling day in ecommerce history, breaking last year’s Cyber Monday record by 17%. Nearly half of all dollars spent online (47.1%) originated from work computers, continuing the trend of consumers shopping during the post-holiday work day. Interestingly enough, IBM reports that average order value was down 6.6%, while peak shopping time took place at 11:25 Eastern.

Takeaway: Cyber Monday has officially become the year’s biggest selling day, as shoppers have accepted this day as an ecommerce sales holiday.


Mobile and tablet commerce steal the spotlight

One recurring theme throughout the weekend was the massive usage of mobile and tablet devices for product research and purchase. ZDNET reports that 22.4% of consumers used a mobile device to visit a retailer’s website on Cyber Monday, with approximately 12% using their mobile device to complete the purchase. IBM offers a similar number, reporting that 13% of all sales came from mobile devices, a 96% increase from 2011. Even more, PriceGrabber shared reports that traffic to their website from tablet devices grew by 775%, indicating a big shift to shopping on the go.

Takeaway: Consumers are becoming more and more comfortable abandoning their PCs to shop from their mobile and tablet devices. While some are still hesitant to complete purchases from these devices, mobile product research is growing as a key aspect of the buying process.


If Thanksgiving weekend is the start of the holiday selling season, expect to see even more sales records crumble leading up to Christmas. It’s definitely an exciting time for the ecommerce industry, as we continue to steal more and more share from traditional retail outlets.

Now get out there and make the most of it!

Happy selling!
-Matt Winn, Volusion


Matt Winn is Volusion’s Senior Brand Manager, where he helps oversee the organization’s branding and communications efforts. Matt has created hundreds of articles, videos and seminars on all things ecommerce, ranging from online marketing to web design and customer experience. Beyond being a certified nerd, Matt is an avid college football fan, enthusiastic home cook and a self-admitted reality TV junkie.

One Response to “Post-Mortem: Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2012 Shatter Records”

  1. Md. Atiqul Islam

    We have seen the differences of the three special day sales in Thanks giving day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Among this Black Friday sale is higher then the other day. We’ve also seen the graph of the sale.


Leave a Reply