The Emergence of “Cyber Friday”

The first of the holiday shopping data has been reported, and total spending dropped an estimated 11% from Thanksgiving through the weekend across both online and physical stores from $57.4 billion to $50.9 billion. National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay explained, “A strengthening economy that changes consumers’ reliance on deep discounts, a highly competitive environment, early promotions and the ability to shop 24/7 online all contributed to the shift witnessed this weekend.”

See below for selected articles related to Thanksgiving weekend commerce becoming increasingly online and mobile:

The New York Times: “Black Friday Fatigue? Thanksgiving Weekend Sales Slide 11 Percent”

Key takeaway: As shoppers take advantage of sales occurring earlier and online, the mobs storming Walmart at midnight and moms fighting over Tickle-Me-Elmo’s will become a distant memory.

“Black Friday itself may be waning in importance, as retailers increasingly offer deep discounts days, and even weeks, before the traditional year-end sales period. That means many people may have simply done their shopping earlier and stayed home during the Thanksgiving weekend.” (The New York Times)

TechCrunch: “U.S. Thanksgiving, Black Friday Sales Break $1B; Total Holiday Spend Online Will Be $89B”

Key takeaway: Those who could resist a tryptophan-induced nap took to their mobile devices to prowl potential deals before transitioning to desktops to make purchases. Despite the decline in total spend, U.S. online sales grew on Thanksgiving (over $1 billion, 32% growth vs. 2013) and Black Friday (over $1.5 billion, 26% growth vs 2013), according to comScore.

“Mobile continued to be a strong driver of both traffic and buying, accounting for 51.2% of all e-commerce browsing, and 28.9% of sales.” (TechCrunch)

VentureBeat: Black Friday is the New Cyber Monday

Key takeaway: Traditional brick-and-mortar stores competed against e-retailers by utilizing enhanced online infrastructure to offer deals across all channels in advance of Cyber Monday.

“Since consumers have evolved to be more agnostic about where they shop, offline retailers have developed a competitive edge. Shoppers will shop anywhere, in-store or online, so long as they can get an item fast and for the best price. When Walmart runs a sale on Thanksgiving and Black Friday in-store and on its website, it’s giving consumers options for getting a product. If the product runs out online, shoppers can potentially get it in store. While Amazon has multiple sellers of the same product on its site, its same-day delivery options are limited and same-day pick-up is nonexistent — at least for now.” (VentureBeat)

Catalyst Investors covered Cyber Monday last year in our blog post, “The Story Behind the Gift”, and we outlined our top three commerce investment themes in our research post, “Let’s Drop the “E” and Talk Commerce”.

We take a proactive, research-based approach to investing and we target sectors that are experiencing above-average growth. If you are a growth-stage commerce company seeking investment, our team would love to start a dialogue. Please send inquiries and business plans to mia at catalystinvestors dot com.
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