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Cyber Week sales: Retail's biggest winners and warnings

While shoppers spent a record $12.4 billion on Cyber Monday alone, the Cyber Week retail event racked up a total of $38 billion in consumer spending. Yahoo Finance Retail Reporter Brooke DiPalma details the e-commerce platforms and buy now, pay later companies — such as Amazon (AMZN) and Affirm (AFRM) — that benefitted the most this holiday shopping season as consumers navigate online scams while checking out items on their wish list.

For more expert insight and the latest market action, click here to watch this full episode of Yahoo Finance Live.

Video transcript

AKIKO FUJITA: Well, the first real test for this holiday shopping season showing signs of a consumer strength. US shoppers spent a record $12.4 billion online during Cyber Monday with those purchases peaking between 10:00 and 11:00 PM Eastern when consumers spent $15.7 million every minute. That's according to Adobe Analytics.

With all of the big spending, we are breaking down the real winners and losers of the weekend with our very own Brooke DiPalma. Brooke, I know I did my part. I went shopping online last night. What's the verdict here? And what does it ultimately mean for the peak of holiday shopping?

BROOKE DIPALMA: Good morning, Akiko. Guilty as charged as well. I certainly bulked up on my holiday shopping this past weekend with that record $12.4 billion spent. Consumers certainly waited for those deals. They checked their list twice. And they showed up this past weekend.

Now, some winners early on this past week was, of course, e-commerce giant Amazon. Now, Amazon said that this was their biggest shopping event of the year. They extended what some call the Cyber Five, the Cyber Weekend, to an 11-day shopping period from November 17 to November 27.

They said that customers around the globe bought $1 billion of items rather more than $1 billion-- 1 billion items on Amazon. They also said that customers on their site were able to save about 70% more than the same period last year.

Another winner here is e-commerce player Shopify. Their online merchants brought in a record $9.3 billion over Black Friday to Cyber Monday. Once again, that's a coined term Cyber Week, Cyber Five. They saw a 24% sales growth increase compared to 2022 being last year. So consumers really shift to digital spend and ultimately shop online, as we saw this past weekend.

And as you mentioned, buy now, pay later getting a big pop this year as consumers remain pinched. We're keeping a close eye as Affirm, one of the winners of this past weekend, shares now higher once again. They were higher on Monday as well.

In total, buy now, pay later, the usage of that hit an all time high. We saw shoppers contribute $940 million in online spending using this sort of payment technology in order to make sure that they could spend this holiday season.

RACHELLE AKUFFO: So, Brooke, we've talked about how people paid. But what about how they shopped? It was a lot more on mobile this year. Tell us about those numbers and how they could potentially really open up people to more scams as well.

BROOKE DIPALMA: Right, Rachelle. Well, certainly, mobile spending continues to be increasing the amount of people who use it. It's more convenient. They don't have to go to stores. And what we're seeing is a pullback in in-store foot traffic.

According to RetailNext, we saw foot traffic in-stores on actual Black Friday up just 2% compared to last year. But across the five-day period, smartphones used during online sales shopping was 51.8%.

So consumers certainly showing up and using their smartphones in order pay off. And so all those companies that really invested heavily in their retail apps during the past two years, think Walmart, think Target, even others like Sephora, that's certainly paying off this past Cyber Weekend.

We also noted-- you know, it's important to note rather that we do-- this does mean that consumers are more vulnerable to scams. And so it's really important that consumers double-check those domain names, look out for any grammatical errors.

And with the increase in AI, those scams are becoming a lot more legitimate-looking. And so it's important to keep a close eye out that before clicking on any text, any links, any emails, social media ads, look out to make sure that there's that lock symbol on the URL to make sure it's secure.

AKIKO FUJITA: OK, certainly an important reminder there. Brooke DiPalma, thanks so much for breaking that down for us today.