The marketing event was picking up steam Monday evening as West Coast shoppers looked for deals after work and those on the East Coast made purchases before bedtime, according to Adobe Analytics, which measures transactions from 80 of the top 100 U.S. retailers.
A late evening forecast from Adobe estimated sales would be $100 million more than it had expected earlier in the day.
„Many shoppers have waited on certain purchases, with three hours tonight expected to bring in as much revenue as an average full day,“ said Taylor Schreiner, director of Adobe Digital Insights.
Target Corp and Amazon.com Inc were pulling out all the stops, offering free delivery with no minimum order requirement and bombarding shoppers with promotional emails.
Companies‘ sales were up 20 percent from a year earlier as of 7 p.m. ET, including a surge in orders placed via mobile phones, Adobe Analytics found.
On Wall Street, investors showed their enthusiasm. Shares of Amazon closed up 5 percent. Macy’s Inc, Kohls Corp and Target shares rose as well.
In another estimate, Mastercard SpendingPulse forecast a 25 percent jump in e-commerce sales to at least $3 billion, based on sales via the Mastercard payments network and estimates for other payment forms such as cash and check.
These U.S. forecasts still paled in comparison to Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s „Singles Day“ earlier this month, when the Chinese e-commerce giant raked in $30.7 billion in sales.
Some industry observers saw a down side to the U.S. shopping frenzy.
Bob Phibbs, chief executive of New York-based consultancy the Retail Doctor, warned of potential store closures if brick-and-mortar players discounted items too heavily this holiday season.
„Online discounts and free shipping are significantly cutting into retailers‘ profits,“ he said. „Retailers are just spending money in the hopes that they don’t lose too much more.“
The promotional efforts also drew the ire of customers who complained they woke up to even more Cyber Monday emails than in years past.
„Yes retailers, I’m aware it’s Cyber Monday even without the 150 emails,“ tweeted Keina (@RealMamaEagle), a user from Delaware.