The Monday following this year’s Thanksgiving, also known as Cyber Monday, was the highest-grossing online shopping day in U.S. history. According to research firm comScore, spending reached $1.25 billion, an increase of 22% from last year’s Cyber Monday — and the previous record. According to a study by the National Retail Federation, 37.8% of overall retail spending over Thanksgiving weekend was online. While more money is still spent at bricks-and-mortar retailers, online spending continues to grow at a much faster rate. 24/7 Wall St. has identified eight online retailers that are selling directly to customers and giving traditional competitors a run for their money.
Many of the reasons for the success of these retailers are the same. It’s far easier to find specialty items online. Until recently, designer goods were only available at high-end department stores and boutiques. Now, online-only stores like Bonobos and Warby Parker sell fashionable pants and eye glasses. These new stores also make shopping online easier, offering generous return policies and, in some cases, free shipping. Other online stores benefit from a limited number of specialty products.
While Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) is the biggest online retailer, its direct-to-customer sales of Kindle are especially hard on consumer electronic retailers like Best Buy (NYSE: BBY). Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) sells iPads and iPhones through mobile service providers like Verizon (NYSE: VZ), big-box retailers like Walmart (NYSE: WMT) and even its own stores. But this Black Friday it was Apple’s site that saw the fifth-most online traffic. The world’s biggest e-retailer has taken note. In 2009 and 2010, Amazon purchased two specialty sites, Zappos.com and Diapers.com.