Cyber Monday sales on track to hit US$9.2 billion

Bengaluru

CYBER Monday sales were on course to bring in a record US$9.2 billion, according to evening estimates, building on a bumper Black Friday weekend for US retailers driven by earlier-than-usual promotions and free shipping.

Shoppers have already had nearly a month of offers and deals as retailers look to draw out their vital holiday season, which is six days shorter this year due to a late Thanksgiving.

Adobe Analytics predicted that US$72.1 billion was spent online in the month ending Dec 1, and Cyber Monday - now traditionally the US economy's biggest Internet shopping day - had logged a 16.9 per cent jump in sales over the year prior as of 7pm Eastern Time.

Adobe, which measures transactions from 80 of the biggest 100 US retailers, said it marked down its prior US$9.4 billion forecast slightly as more data came in.

Amazon.com Inc and rivals such as Target Corp and Walmart have beefed up delivery services to fulfil online orders more quickly. "At the end of the day, Cyber Monday is just Black Friday revisited so the momentum, and the deals, really started last week," said Carol Spieckerman, president at consultancy Spieckerman Retail.

"Retailers' click and collect capabilities are running more efficiently, online shopping is more intuitive... Amazon isn't the only one wearing the convenience crown this year."

It may not all be smooth sailing for the world's biggest online retailer. Protesters, who have described poor treatment of workers at its warehouses and rising climate emissions from the company's push for speedier deliveries, marched outside company chief Jeff Bezos' Fifth Avenue penthouse in New York City on Monday. "We're humans, not robots," read one sign.

The protesters chanted: "We're cold, we're wet and we're holding Amazon in check" and "Bezos, Bezos you can't hide, we can see your greedy side."

A group in San Bernardino plans to protest in the evening near an Amazon warehouse in the Inland Empire, a key logistics hub serving southern California.

Amazon spokeswoman Kristen Kish said that unions and groups funded by competitors were "conjuring misinformation" about Amazon, which had industry-leading pay and benefits, including a US$15 minimum starting wage.

While the company aims to be carbon neutral by 2040, Reuters has found its use of planes is on the rise.

Activists also tried to blockade a shopping mall in Paris, denouncing the spread of Black Friday to European shores.

The National Retail Federation estimates nearly 69 million Americans will scour the web on Monday for deals on everything from mobile phones to kitchenware, with Adobe estimating the biggest discounts on televisions and computers.

Topping Adobe's list of most popular products were Frozen 2 and Paw Patrol toys, L.O.L surprise dolls and Nintendo's Switch mobile console.

"#CyberMonday2019 The day of the year 85 per cnt of the US population pretends to actually be working," tweeted Erika Mayor, a user in Miami. REUTERS

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