US retailers' online sales are likely to have slowed this Cyber Monday, as fewer discounts and limited choices due to global supply chain disruptions deterred shoppers, but other data points suggested American consumers are still making purchases.
Retailers had also spread out promotional deals across more weeks to protect profit margins from surging supply chain costs and to better manage inventories amid widespread product shortages before the Christmas shopping season.
Those attempts have pinched sales on what are traditionally some of the biggest shopping days of the year, with Adobe Analytics data at the weekend showing spending online during Black Friday fell for the first time ever.
US spending on Cyber Monday is expected to be between $10.2 billion and $11.3bn, estimates from Adobe show.
That translates to roughly flat growth at the midpoint compared to last year's $10.8bn, which was a near 15 per cent jump from 2019.
Excitement on social media around Cyber Monday is also ebbing.
“Cyber Monday continues to be extremely relevant, particularly in the digital world, but the buzz has been more muted than we've seen in recent history,” said Rob Garf, general manager of retail at Salesforce.
Discount rates in the US in the week leading up to Cyber Monday were on average 8 per cent lower than last year, Salesforce said.
The holiday season kicks off right as the new Omicron coronavirus variant has triggered uncertainty over the economic reopening, but experts say it is too early to predict the impact on consumer spending.
A separate data point released on Monday by MasterCard SpendingPulse — which calculates overall US retail sales across payment methods — found US shoppers spent 14 per cent more on merchandise excluding cars from November 26 to 28, compared to the same holiday weekend a year earlier. The estimates include purchases made in stores.
Shopper spending online increased 5 per cent over the three-day period compared to a year earlier, and by 28.7 per cent when compared to the same period in 2019, MasterCard SpendingPulse reported.