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Shopping Holidays

Black Friday Beats Cyber Monday on its Home Court

by Ken Cassar - May 16, 2019

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It’s official: E-commerce officially grew up on November 26, 2018. Across all US online retailers, Cyber Monday was the biggest Cyber Monday ever, but the title of the biggest online shopping day ever now goes to…Black Friday 2018. 

By any objective measure, Cyber Monday 2018 was a terrific sales day for online retailers, with sales up by 9 percent from last year, driven by 6 percent growth in Cyber Monday buyers and 3 percent growth in spending per buyer. It’s just the comparison to Black Friday, which was 8 percent higher that dampens the Cyber Monday spirit; the long 2018 Cyber Weekend (Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday) was up 18 percent from 2017.


Amazon.com is, of course, the leader thus far this holiday season, but we’re seeing strong growth across the brick and mortar retail set thus far this year (November 1 – November 26): Best Buy online sales are up 36 percent.  Walmart online sales (including Walmart Grocery) are up 76 percent. Target.com sales are up 47 percent. The storyline continues: Amazon has a lead that feels insurmountable, but brick and mortar retailers are making slow, steady headway.


Finally, we’ve run a set of new analyses looking at Cyber Monday and new buyers. If we look back to the early years of online shopping, the holiday period was an important time for consumers to try shopping online for the first time in an effort to avoid the crowds at the malls. Fast forward to Cyber Monday 2018, and we still see that Cyber Monday shoppers haven’t become a dependable commodity to online retailers. There is ample room for future growth by upping the number of Cyber Monday shoppers, though, as 50 percent of those that bought on Cyber Monday 2018 hadn’t bought on Cyber Mondays in 2016 or 2017. Cyber Monday, however, no longer brings in new online shoppers; only 1 percent of those who purchased during Cyber weekend were making their first online purchase of the year. 


Black Friday’s defeat of Cyber Monday in 2018 wasn’t a smackdown, it was a narrowly eked out win. But it is reflective of the continued disappearance of the line separating online and offline shopping. Increasingly, it’s just shopping.

About this data

With a panel of over 5.5 million online shoppers, Rakuten Intelligence gives the most detailed, and accurate digital commerce data available, and is reported daily.

Rakuten Intelligence is the only service to measure digital commerce directly from the consumer, across all retailers, at the item level, and over time. Our retailer-independent methodology precisely measures commerce as it happens. By extracting detailed information from hundreds of millions of aggregated and anonymized e-receipts, Rakuten Intelligence can map the entire Purchase Graph, connecting each and every consumer to all their purchases.

Rakuten Intelligence gets its data from e-receipts – not a browser, app or software installed by the end-user – so its measurement reflects comprehensive shopping behavior across multiple devices, over time, which are key in an increasingly omnichannel retail world. Rakuten Intelligence is the exclusive e-commerce data provider for NPD’s Checkout Tracking e-commerce service.