First Post-Vaccine Cyber Monday Sales Disappoint

Reports indicate that this year’s Cyber Monday sales failed to reach their prior levels.

The Wall Street Journal explained:

Shoppers spent $7.1 billion online as of 9 p.m. eastern time in the U.S., according to transaction data compiled by the Adobe Digital Economy Index. Shoppers are expected to spend between $10.4 billion and $11.1 billion on Cyber Monday, Adobe said. American consumers spent $10.8 billion online last year.

The figures are in line with online retail sales for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, which failed to surpass the previous year’s sales for the first time in years, according to some industry estimates. Overall, U.S. retail sales rose 14% during the Thanksgiving weekend compared with last year and 5.8% from 2019, according to data released by Mastercard SpendingPulse.

Supply chain bottlenecks also presented complications to retailers. The Wall Street Journal added:

Online discounts were also lower on Monday compared with last year, with smaller promotions across electronics, appliances, apparel and sporting goods, Adobe reported. Supply-chain disruptions have made it difficult for some retailers to keep their shelves stocked, spurring consumers to begin their holiday shopping early. Out-of-stock messages are up 169% through Sunday compared with pre-pandemic levels, Adobe said.

Shopping over this year’s Thanksgiving weekend was also marked by the rise of “Buy Now, Pay Later” — a short-term financing option that allows consumers to buy items and pay through future installments, often interest-free.

“Nearly half (45.1%) of users said they will be paying for part — or all — of this year’s holiday purchases using BNPL,” said the results of a survey conducted by Cardify. “When asked to share the full list of payment methods they’ll be using, BNPL came in third place behind debit (65.7%) and credit cards (54.6%). Consumers would rather pay for holiday purchases using BNPL than cash (31.5%). Among those who plan to use BNPL this holiday season (‘Holiday BNPL Shoppers’), 46.6% will use BNPL for more than half (37.8%) or even all (8.6%) of their holiday purchases.”

“It’s become more mainstream,” explained Cardify CEO Derrick Fung as reported by CNBC. “The consumer over the last 12 months has become more compulsive and BNPL products are the result of us being locked up for too long and wanting more instant gratification.”

Another survey from thredUp noted that many American consumers will rely upon thrift stores to complete holiday shopping as the supply chain crisis limits the availability of certain items. 52% of consumers are worried that “popular gifts will be more expensive this year.” Meanwhile, 53% plan to “adjust their holiday shopping to account for shipping delays,” while one in three believe “limited inventory will make it difficult to find gifts.”

Nevertheless, White House officials have asserted that supply chain bottlenecks are attributable to the “historic economic recovery” induced by President Biden.

“So, if this is an issue that the White House has been working on and aware of since February, why does it seem like this is a problem that is getting worse, not better?” one reporter recently asked White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre about the supply chain.

“I would say this: When it comes to the supply chain … there are complexities there when you think about, you know, the — when we learn about the global supply chain as well — right? Those are — so that’s one thing that you kind of have to put it in the — in the bigger picture,” Jean-Pierre claimed. “There are port directors, terminal operators, ocean carriers, railroad, truckers … warehouses, and retailers, and let’s not forget consumers who have a record level of demand as we have made a historic economic recovery.”

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