Inflation is still sky-high, and a recession could be imminent. But apparently consumers did not get the message, since online holiday shopping saw record numbers this year.
Cyber Monday turned out to be the largest e-commerce sales day in U.S. history, with consumers spending a record $11.3 billion on the day, up 5.8% from last year. And a record 196.7 million Americans shopped in stores and online during the five-day holiday period from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday known as “Cyber Five,” according to an annual survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. The total number of shoppers grew by nearly 17 million from 2021 and is the highest figure since NRF first started tracking this data in 2017.
Shopping is a large part of most consumers’ Thanksgiving weekend activities. According to Deloitte, 80% of consumers planned to shop during the Cyber Five, up from 71% last year. Younger consumers are the ones who drove that change, with 86% of Gen Zers and 89% of Millennials expected to make a purchase during this five-day period.
“As inflationary pressures persist, consumers have responded by stretching their dollars in any way possible,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “Retailers have responded accordingly, offering shoppers a season of buying convenience, matching sales, and promotions across online and in-store channels to accommodate their customers at each interaction."
Shay added: “It is important to note that while some may claim that retail sales gains are the result of higher prices, they must acknowledge the historic growth in consumers who are shopping in-store and online during the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend and into Cyber Monday. It is consumer demand that is driving growth.”
Investors looking to capitalize on retailers that focus on connecting with younger shoppers may want to give the Neuberger Berman Connected Consumer ETF (NBCC ) a look. Launched in April, NBCC targets companies that demonstrate significant growth potential from connectivity-based consumerism.
The fund spans a broad range of industries globally and may invest in companies of any market cap. Neuberger Berman’s data science capabilities will be used to evaluate the web search and spending tendencies of millions of consumers, and the call transcripts and filings of over 4,000 public companies to daily identify the opportunities that appear best positioned for mass adoption in the digital age.
“Retailers need to reimagine their technology or business model to connect with the Gen Y and Gen Z consumers,” said John Aguilar, senior vice president and head of U.S. intermediary marketing at Neuberger Berman. “How are companies reimagining themselves to future-proof their business to connect with that digitally native cohort?”
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