By Reyne Rice, Toy Trend Expert and Youth Market Specialist
First posted on the YourToyCom.com blog forum and community website serving the toys, games and childrens’ technology industries, on behalf of the Spielwarenmesse. Spielwarenmesse is the leading and largest International ToyFair in the world, held annually in Nuremberg, Germany in early February.
Now that one-day online sales figures surpassed the Billion US dollar mark, three days in a row (Nov 28th-30th, 2011) in the United States, more countries will be looking to test these types of online retail sales promotional programs with their consumers.
The first round of Fall 2011 Cyber Monday events in the USA occurred on November 28th, the Monday following Black Friday and also following strong US Thanksgiving weekend sales (the week of Nov 24th – Dec 2nd). The reported numbers showed a marked increase in online deals and sales, resulting in one-day Cyber Monday sales of 1.25 Billion US dollars. To put this in perspective, this was only the second day in US history where online sales crossed the Billion dollar USA mark, according to comScore.com, following the same day sales for Cyber Monday in 2010. This year, the phenomenon continued through Tuesday and Wednesday, with single day sales on Nov 29th and Nov 30th, 2011 also crossing the Billion dollar USA mark.
In addition, comScore predicts that the USA Free Shipping Day (scheduled for Dec 16, 2011) is expected to cross the Billion record, and surpass last year’s record-breaking 942 Million dollars in US sales. That record was 61% higher than the previous Free Shipping Day sales in 2009. Over 2000 merchants will offer free shipping to addresses within the continental USA, with delivery by Christmas Eve.
It remains to be seen how many other countries will jump on the online Free Shipping Day market sales train. Canada introduced their first Free Online Shipping day on Monday Dec 12th, with over 50 online merchants already signed on to participate (see full listing at www.freeshippingday.ca). Last year, some European countries launched online Cyber Day Holiday sales, and the move was met with promising success. With the current economic market instability still very much top-of-mind in European markets, consumers may be less inclined to buy in general, until the political climate becomes more stabilized.
This strong consumer acceptance of online retailing is especially promising for categories like toys, which are easy to purchase online. Certain categories, such as games and puzzles, action figures, dolls, plush, radio-control vehicles and infant-preschool items are already researched and price-comparison shopped online. It is not hard to imagine a consumer making that one last click to buy immediately, and save time in the shopping malls, parking garages and inclement weather, if the shipping fees drop to zero.
Wal-Mart Canada has also recently gone on record to announce that they are beefing up their online selling, to counter the wave of cross-border sales that were being captured by their retail competitors south of the border, in the USA. Canadians are spending more online this year already, as evidenced by a 15.4 percent increase over year-ago numbers for Holiday shopping on the US Thanksgiving weekend, according to Moneris Solutions, Canada’s largest credit-card processor. With annual online 2011 sales in Canada projected to increase by 12%, totaling 18.5 Billion Canadian dollars, eMarketer predicts that this figure will steadily climb to 30.9 Billion Canadian dollars by 2015.
Online and eRetailing purchasing are becoming more acceptable to consumers. As Smartphone device penetration grows, this online purchasing behavior is likely to increase, as more and more consumers choose convenience in their purchasing, and opt for mobile device access to shopping, and mobile payments as viable solutions. We will continue to watch and monitor these options, as part of the overall toys & games business dynamics.
By Reyne Rice 03 January 2012
From Reyne: Here is an update comparing these key online dates for the 2011 Holiday Retail season in the USA: Free Shipping Day in the USA, on Dec 16th, 2011, will go down in the record books as another heavy spending day this holiday season. Consumers spent a total of 1.07 billion on Dec 16th, otherwise known as “Free Shipping Day”, which was more than consumers spent during the entirety of the Thanksgiving weekend (1.03 billion, Nov 26-27th, 2011) and 14% more than consumers spent on the same day in 2010. USA shoppers spent the most money on Cyber Monday this holiday season (1.25 billion, on November 28th, 2011) followed by Green Monday, December 12th (1.13 billion) and Free Shipping Day (1.07 Billion). (Source: comScore, Inc. )