Cyber Monday Grows, But Thanksgiving, Black Friday Online Sales Catching Up
-- Broadcasting & Cable, 11/26/2012 2:27:11 PM
Right now, it seems like retailers are covering all their bases to grab the best of both worlds, doing hefty Black Friday promotion to draw in-store business, while also touting to consumers the benefits of buying online. Email coupons offering discounts for customers who buy online on Monday are pouring into email boxes across the country.
ComScore estimates that U.S. consumers will spend $1.5 billion this Cyber Monday, up 20% from last year, with many retailers offering enticing bargains to draw customers to their websites. The Associated Press reports that Amazon.com, for example, is offering super online deals like 60% off a 55-inch Panasonic HDTV that usually sells for more than $1000. Sears is offering a Maytag washer and dryer on sale for $399, less than half their everyday price, and Kmart is offering 75% off all diamond earrings.
But media reports show that the number of consumers buying online on Black Friday is also growing. ComScore reported that online sales for Black Friday topped $1 billion for the first time this year, up 26% from $816 million last year. And Thanksgiving Day online sales reached $633 million, up 32%.
So as more retailers begin to market their merchandise and offer online discounts on days other than Cyber Monday, more consumers are going to begin spreading out their shopping purchases.
Vicki Cantrell, executive director of Shop.org, tells AP that the growth of high-speed Internet access, smartphones and tablets means consumers are relying less on their work computers to shop than they did in the past when the National Retail Federation coined the term Cyber Monday.
"People years ago didn't have...connectivity to shop online in their homes," Cantrell tells the AP. "So when they went back to work after Thanksgiving they'd shop on the Monday after. Now they don't need the work computer to be able to do that."
In an article titled, "Is Cyber Monday Losing Its Luster?" Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD Group, tells Lauren Indvik of Mashable that some of the nation's largest retailers who are now opening on Thanksgiving Day are advertising the promotional deals online in days and even weeks before then. "Retailers now have to promote throughout the whole holiday season to stay competitive," Cohen says.
Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst for Forrester Research, tells Mashable that moving forward, "We'll start to see Cyber Monday offers not just online but also in stores," which will redefine the initial Cyber Monday concept.
NPD's Cohen says what is also not working in Cyber Monday's favor is that online buying, while convenient, is "a solitary process." He tells Mashable, "What online retailers need to do is turn it into a much more social event. It needs to engage families and friends in a much bigger, better way. That's where the stores still beat them."
While Cyber Monday might be neutralized a bit going forward, there will still be significant consumer spending, and online holiday sellers need to know what information sources shoppers use when making online buys. Forrester has just released its North American Technographics Retail Online Benchmark Recontact Survey for third quarter.
The survey finds that 59% of online shoppers cite shipping costs as the top consideration when making an online buy. Close behind is product reviews and ratings from other customers, which was cited as 57%. Also important to consumers making online buys is product information from the retailer (47%), the need for detailed product descriptions (41%), information from the manufacturer (39%), discounts (35%), low price guarantees (31%) and retailer return policies (22%).
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