Green Monday Forecast: Online Buying Spree Will Break Last Year's Record

Average online holiday shopper orders two to three $76 items: survey

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The post-Thanksgiving holiday-buying binge is over, but with 20 days ‘til Christmas, American consumer spending continues to see a record year. And while Cyber Monday, the biggest online retail shopping day of the year with a record $1.46 billion in online orders, is over, “e-tailers” are about to see how their second-biggest virtual buying-spree day will fare.  

Marketing people call it Green Monday. That’s when Yuletide revelers realize that Christmas is less than three weeks away and that the window of opportunity for pre-Xmas delivery is closing fast. Last year Americans spent nearly a billion dollars on the second Monday of December, the biggest day on record, as online shopping becomes far more mainstream that it has ever been, helped by the advent of mobile technology, shopping apps and greater trust in online transactions.

The numbers suggest that Dec. 10 will very likely break last year’s record of $1.1 billion -- the first year the spending broke through a billion-dollar ceiling -- followed by a continued rise in online transitions until the steep drop-off following the week before Christmas and the post-holiday doldrums.

From Nov. 1 to Dec. 2, Americans have spent more than $21 billion on holiday shopping, up 14 percent from the $18.6 billion spent last year in the same period, according to figures released Thursday by Virginia-based Internet analytics company comScore. The number of online shoppers also grew in that period, to 128,691. Each of these consumers made an average of between two and three orders, worth $76 apiece.  

A billion dollars a day was spent on the three days after Thanksgiving, including $1.46 billion spent on Cyber Monday, and while the purchasing growth rates fell a bit toward the end of last week, possibly due to the early start to the post-Thanksgiving rush, comScore says sales shot up again this week, “as the urgency to finish one’s holiday shopping increases.

The package deliverers expect a big week ahead.

FedEx Corporation (NYSE: FDX) has said Green Monday will be its busiest day of the year. An estimated 19 million packages will be in the Memphis, Tenn.-based delivery company’s logistics chain, up from 17.2 million on the second Monday of December last year. That’s because this week is the peak for online shopping before the bell curve begins its downward slope.

The term Green Monday was created by comScore to refer to the best online-selling day of the year by online auctioneer eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY). Green Monday is not always on Monday. In 2009, Tuesday saw higher online spending than the previous day. But for the sake of having a catchy phrase to describe the third week before Christmas, it suffices.

There are essentially seven important continuously rising spending weeks of Christmas shopping – from the first of November to the day before Christmas. Online buying tends to peak in the week before Christmas, with the second week containing a peak single day. The first of the work week maximizes the number of delivery days – an order on Monday will often arrive before the end of the week.

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