Cyber Monday Growth
The rumble of the shopping crowds descending upon retailers on Thanksgiving weekend, one of the business shopping days of the year and the unofficial kickoff for holiday shopping, can be heard several weeks ahead of time. Both the deal hunters who love the experience and the retailers who depend on the influx of holiday cash are already engaged in earnest preparation well before the turkey hits the oven.
But this big shopping holiday isn’t what it used to be, and there are some definite shifts in consumer behavior that are affecting both retailers and the traditional shoppers. And the trend shows a definite move away from Friday’s rush to online shopping.
Black Friday Shopping on the Decline?
Consumer Reports announced that just 24% of Americans plan to get into the traditional weekend shopping mood. That’s down several percentage points from last year, as is the number of people planning to do any shopping at all over the holiday weekend (just 44%, several points below last year). People may be shopping sometime over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend; they’ll just be doing it in between catching a movie and hitting the Starbucks drive-thru. And more and more people will be staying home altogether.
But the big Monday online shopping can be hard to parse out. That same Consumer Reports release revealed that the number of shoppers expected online over the weekend, including Cyber Monday, has increased steadily over the last several years, even as the total people planning to shop declines. In fact, online shopping on that day is projected to beat in-store shopping this year (17% versus just 13% in-store). People are clearly letting their laptops, tablets and smartphones do the walking for them, even if the overall trend seems to show weekend shopping dropping off.
Cyber Monday Laptop Deals
More than 75% of people surveyed have said they’ll be hunting for coveted discounts on gadgets during the holidays. And the premier place to find those kinds of deals is no longer in struggling electronics stores, it’s online.
It’s likely that consumer’s behavior, both during the holidays and the rest of the year, is going to be significantly different going forward. Online shopping has completely shaken up the traditional brick-and-mortar frenzy that is the butt of so many jokes around the holidays. In our ever more electronic society, Cyber Monday laptop deals have quickly replaced the promises of free toasters or low-quality TVs that retailers used to be successful customer-bait in years past. And with that shift to online shopping, Black Friday may be giving way to Cyber Monday.
Or is it possible that these shifts are just a few-year downturn do to our collective economic circumstances. We’ve just gone through a contentious election season in which the dearth of our economic growth took center stage. That could either put a real damper on people’s desire to go out and spend, or spur them to hit the stores for some retail therapy. Of course, such a change could be a permanent shift from shopping sprees to more considered shopping behavior.
The decline in Black Friday shopping expeditions may also be a commentary on American consumerism as a whole. People are thinking differently about what they really want during the holidays, and crowded shopping malls and bumper-to-bumper traffic doesn't quite fit into the quaint picture of going over the river and through the woods to bask in the holiday glow at grandma’s place. Perhaps the pendulum is swinging back the other way.