This will likely be a record year for online sales as retail foot traffic slips.
The trend isn't just for Cyber Monday, though, it's the entire stretch from Thanksgiving, Black Friday and through the weekend. According to Statista, online Thanksgiving sales of $3.3 billion grew almost 14% vs. 2017, while Black Friday sales soared 18%. Weekend sales jumped 25.5%.
These numbers are incredible, particularly given the mood on Wall Street. It shows that everyday Americans still feel relatively upbeat and are planning for a fun (and loaded!) holiday season. Foot traffic on Black Friday and Thanksgiving reportedly fell 1%, although some sources have recorded even larger declines. It begs the question of which companies are set to benefit the most and which will be hurt the most.
There are obvious winners, like payment-processing companies and peer-to-peer platforms. As sales shift online, shoppers are forced to pay with debit and credit card solutions like Visa (V) - Get Report , MasterCard (MA) - Get Report and American Express (AXP) - Get Report , or options like PayPal (PYPL) - Get Report . Sending money to friends and family (perhaps splitting gift costs) also benefits companies like PayPal and its Venmo platform.
There are other obvious winners, like Amazon (AMZN) - Get Report and eBay (EBAY) - Get Report , as e-commerce companies continue to see more traffic. Shipping companies like FedEx (FDX) - Get Report and United Parcel Service (UPS) - Get Report can also benefit from the uptick in shipping volume.
Finally, retailers who have invested in omni-channel operations are also benefiting from the uptick in sales. Or at least, they're not getting steamrolled by online giants as much as they once were. Companies like Target (TGT) - Get Report , Walmart (WMT) - Get Report , Macy's (M) - Get Report and Kohl's (KSS) - Get Report are just a couple of examples.
Either way, this year is shaping up to be a strong holiday season, something investors are hoping will lead to a Santa Claus rally in the stock market after a two-month bludgeoning.
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This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author had no positions in the stocks mentioned.