It’s a growing trend that holiday shoppers are increasingly choosing to avoid the hassle of crowded malls for the convenience of shopping online. Holiday shopping in 2017 is already breaking records, even though there are still a few shopping days left until Christmas, and e-commerce is projected to have its biggest season ever.

Thanksgiving weekend alone shows how much online sales have grown significantly from just a year ago. Thanksgiving Day e-commerce sales were up 18.3% year-over-year; compared to last year’s 12% year over year growth, this was a huge jump.[1] The weekend broke records for sales on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. $5.03 billion was spent online during Black Friday, and Cyber Monday sales totaled $6.59 billion, making it the biggest online spending day ever in the US. Amazon’s performance on Thanksgiving and Black Friday continued its relevance as juggernaut, accounting for 55% of all e-commerce transactions from the top 50 online retailers.[2] A report from Mastercard shows that Black Friday sales are generally dominated by flat screen TVs, and other electronics, while Cyber Monday tends to be tailored to shoppers looking for toys, clothes, on other items more likely to be given as gifts.[3] This large amount of spending probably benefited all retailers, but steep discounts on items will most likely cut their profit margins.

A big determinant if a retailer can keep up is the quality of their mobile experience; smartphones accounted most of shopping traffic over Thanksgiving weekend; desktops however, accounted for the majority of online sales. Consumers are trusting their smartphones and tablets more and more to make purchases, but the amount of browsing vs. actual online purchases suggests that many shop around online as a research tool prior to spending in-store.[4]

This holiday season already had a bright outlook on retail sales: the high stock market, relatively strong GDP and low unemployment have consumers feeling good from an economic standpoint. -stretch, we have a better idea of just how much e-commerce and the act of buying online has grown: shoppers are on pace to spend $109.3 billion online this holiday season, e-commerce sales are up 16.3% since November alone.[5]

An investor cannot invest directly in an index. The opinions and forecasts expressed are those of the author, and may not actually come to pass. This information is subject to change at any time, based on market and other conditions and should not be construed as a recommendation of any specific security or investment plan. Past performance does not guarantee future results.