Cyber Monday online sales up 33 percent; Justice Dept. cracks down on counterfeit sites

November 29, 2011

Cyber Monday 2011 looks to be following in the footsteps of Black Friday, which outperformed last year on strong online sales as well as traditional retail sales. Early sales numbers showed a double digit jump over 2010. As Hayley Tsukayama reported:

Early numbers show strong sales for Cyber Monday 2011, with retailers posting early numbers showing sales were holding steady at 15 percent over last year. Researchers at IBM Benchmark reported the increase, though it has not yet released dollar figures for the online shopping day.

Highlighting a hot trend in shopping this year, the report found that 7.37 percent of sales were made on a mobile device as compared to 2.25 percent in the same period last year. Data from PayPal found that mobile shopping had increased even more — 514 percent — from Cyber Monday 2010.

PayPal also found that Apple products are selling very well. Online auction site eBay reported that a sale for $50 off a $449 16 GB iPad had been so successful that the item sold out in less than two hours at a rate of about four units per minute.

Over 80 percent of retailers said that they were planning to offer Cyber Monday promotions, the Associated Press reported, and 123 million American shoppers planned to check out the Monday deals.

The sales agency tracking firm SalesTracker has put the online sales figure even higher, with a 33 percent jump on Cyber Monday. As AP explained:

Online sales rose 33 percent on the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, a report by a sales tracking agency said Tuesday.

The average order rose 2.6 percent to $193.24 on the day known as “Cyber Monday,” when retailers amp up online promotions, according to IBM Benchmark. It didn’t give comparative total dollar sales numbers, however.

The agency said about 80 percent of retailers offered online deals. Shopping peaked at 2:05 p.m. Eastern.

The Cyber Monday numbers point to Americans’ growing comfort with using their personal computers, tablets and smartphones to shop.

Over the past few years, big chains like Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, have been offering more and better incentives like hourly deals and free shipping, to capitalize on that trend. It’s important for retailers to make a good showing during the holiday shopping season, a time when they can make up to 40 percent of their annual revenue.

“Retailers that adopted a smarter approach to commerce, one that allowed them to swiftly adjust to the shifting shopping habits of their customers, whether in-store, online or via their mobile device, were able to fully benefit from this day and the entire holiday weekend, said John Squire, chief strategy officer, IBM Smarter Commerce.

About 6.6 percent of online shoppers used a mobile device to shop, up from 2.3 percent in 2010. Apple Inc.’s iPhone and iPad were the top mobile devices for retail traffic, with Android devices coming in third.

The Department of Justice cracked down over the weekend on more than 100 domains that were selling counterfeit goods, in an effort to prevent consumers from being defrauded online. As Ylan Q. Mui reported:

Cyber Monday wasn’t just about sales.

On one of the busiest online shopping days of the year, the Justice Department announced that it shut down 150 Web sites selling counterfeit goods ranging from sports jerseys to handbags to the popular P90X exercise program. The operation was part of a campaign launched last year that has targeted more than 350 sites visited by millions of consumers.

“For most, the holidays represent a season of good will and giving, but for these criminals, it’s the season to lure in unsuspecting holiday shoppers,” said John Morton, director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which spearheaded the operation.

According to the National Retail Federation, a trade group, nearly 123 million people planned to shop Monday, up nearly 15 percent from last year. Conceived as a way to keep the holiday spirit — and spending — going once workers returned to their cubicles after Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday now rivals Black Friday in popularity and sales.

But the rise of online shopping also comes with potential perils for consumers, who may unwittingly buy fraudulent merchandise or become victims of identity theft. According to the Federal Trade Commission, complaints about identity theft have tripled over the past decade to more than 250,000 last year. Meanwhile, fraud accounted for about half of the agency’s 1.3 million complaints.

More from The Washington Post

More shoppers, more spending, but no revised holiday spending forecasts

Online shopping sales jump 26 percent on Black Friday; Thanksgiving sales also up sharply

Surf smart for Cyber Monday

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