Sellouts and jams ensnare Target Corp’s CyberMonday customers

Target Store in Chicago. REUTERS/Jim Young

U.S. shoppers seeking to avoid the holiday crowds at bricks-and-mortar stores and snare deals on Cyber Monday came face-to-face with traffic jams and product sellouts, with some customers of Target Corp forced to wait in a virtual line.

Sales on Cyber Monday, traditionally the busiest day of the year for Internet shopping, were expected to finish up 12 percent from a year earlier at $2.98 billion, according to Adobe Digital Index, part of Adobe Systems Inc, which provides digital marketing and media services to merchants. As of 10 a.m. ET on Monday, sales registered at $490 million.

But 13 out of 100 product views returned an out-of-stock message Monday morning, more than twice the rate on an average day, according to Adobe.

“Consumers are hyped for Cyber Monday, with social buzz more positive than what we saw on Black Friday, but they need to brace themselves for the highest out-of-stock rates of the season so far,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst at Adobe Digital Index.

Website outages and slow checkouts during the five-day shopping spree that started on Thanksgiving were reported at luxury retailer Neiman Marcus, Wal-Mart Stores Inc, L Brands Inc’s Victoria Secret and Foot Locker Inc. Slow service was also reported at payments processor PayPal Inc.

The data underscores the ongoing shift in shopping online, which makes up for slowing spending in stores. But product shortages raise broader concerns about inventory planning by retailers during the most crucial time of the year.

Adobe tracked 80 percent of all online transactions from the top 100 U.S. retailers and said sales are on track to meet its expectation of a record $3 billion by the end of Monday.

Retail stocks including Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target and Macy’s Inc fell between 1 and 3 percent on Monday.

Data from RetailNext showed overall in-store sales from Thursday to Sunday fell 4.7 percent, with customer traffic down 5.1 percent .

Data from ChannelAdvisor, a retail technology and services firm, showed marketplace sales at Amazon, which account for more than 40 percent of Amazon’s total revenue, grew 22.4 percent, Google Inc’s Google Shopping marketplace grew 14.34 percent while eBay Inc rose 1.9 percent from midnight to noon Eastern time on Monday.

On Target‘s website, www.target.com, some shoppers looking for bargains were greeted with an error message: “So sorry, but high traffic’s causing delays. If you wouldn’t mind holding, we’ll refresh automatically & get things going ASAP.”

A Target spokeswoman said that as the website witnesses spikes in traffic it places some guests in a queue, while millions of others shopped on the website. She said Target‘s volume was already twice as high as its busiest day ever.

Most U.S. retailers like Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy began offering some of the season’s best online deals, which traditionally had been reserved for Cyber Monday, several weeks in advance.

Between Thanksgiving day and Cyber Monday, $11 billion will have been spent online, a 15 percent increase from 2014, Adobe said. Mobile devices, which include smartphones and tablets, drove 28 percent of online sales, Adobe said.

Mastercard, which tracks spending in its card network as well as other forms of payments, said its data also showed a double-digit jump in e-commerce sales from Thanksgiving to Sunday, above its expectations for an 8 percent rise.

Mastercard said spending overall was brisk. It said speciality apparel retailers saw sales pick up during the four-day period as colder weather unleashed pent-up demand for winter clothing but that revenue for department store chains and electronics retailers remained subdued.

IBM has predicted that Cyber Monday online sales would grow by more than 18 percent compared with 2014. IBM said e-commerce sales rose 26 percent on Saturday and Sunday compared with a year earlier.

(Editing by Nick Zieminski and Leslie Adler)

Reuters

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.