Christian stores and suppliers are reporting strong sales for Cyber Monday, considered the official start of the online Christmas shopping season.
Online merchants raked in a record $1.47 billion in sales Cyber Monday (Nov. 26)--the first Monday after Thanksgiving, up 17% from a year earlier, according to research firm ComScore, the Los Angeles Times reported.
According to a survey conducted by BIGinsight for Shop.org, Cyber Monday shoppers spent an average $194.46 online, more than the average person spent online Thanksgiving weekend ($172.42).
Blessings Christian Marketplace, a chain of four stores based in Chilliwack, British Columbia, saw success with its Cyber Monday sale, which offered free shipping and a 10% discount on all purchases.
"Cyber Monday sales were up by 35% year-on-year," Mark Hutchinson, president and CEO of Blessings, told Christian Retailing. "Sales for Black Friday [the day after Thanksgiving] were up by 25% year-on-year. Black Friday was the single largest sale day of the year for Blessings."
Good sellers for Cyber Monday were personalized engraved candles; Sarah Young's Jesus Calling; Todd Burpo's Heaven Is for Real; Max Lucado's Grace; Dee Henderson's Full Disclosure; Beverly Lewis' The Bridesmaid; October Baby; Stephen Curtis Chapman's Joy; and VeggieTales: The League of Incredible Vegetables.
"We were very encouraged by the growth of online sales this year," Hutchinson said. "We kept our offering very simple and straightforward, offering a discount on the entire order and free shipping. We are currently on track to have a similar Christmas season to last year. Our first two weeks of [Christmas] sales were a little slower than last year, but we have now picked up speed and moving forward well. The key is keep the stores looking fresh and well-stocked and ensure we are interacting with our customers providing great customer service."
Berean Christian Stores' 18-outlet chain also saw good sales.
"We were very pleased with our Thanksgiving results," said Bill Nielsen, chief operating officer of Berean. "Black Friday was up over 13% in comparison store results, but the overall weekend sale was even better coming in at just under an 18% comparison store sales increase. Cyber Monday continued the trend, and was up 13% on a comparison store basis."
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SOURCE: Christian Retailing