‘Tis the season to shop, right? Not so much.
Black Friday, once considered the most important “official” unofficial consumer shopping holiday of the year, was nothing short of a #fail for many large retailers. Based on Black Friday’s less-than-stellar figures, Cyber Monday is expected to follow suit.
Compared to last year, holiday shoppers took advantage of earlier and longer promotions this shopping season, resulting in fewer shoppers in stores or online this past holiday weekend. Though more than half — an estimated 61% — of global internet users search for products online, the trend is expected to continue on Cyber Monday.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) expected nearly 127 million consumers to shop online during Cyber Monday, down from 131 million who did so last year. The NRF’s CEO, Matthew Shay, attributes the shift in consumer shopping patterns to post-recession confidence in the economy. Shoppers are less frantic in terms of chasing deals, and take advantage of online deals all season long.
This year’s Black Friday promotions began nearly a week or more earlier than last year’s in some cases, with many retailers extending deals in stores and online into the weekend. In an effort to make up for lackluster Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, some retail giants, such as Target, are extending Cyber Monday sales into the rest of the week, creating “Cyber Week.” Best Buy has dropped the time frame altogether, opting instead to offer “Cyber Deals.” However, consumers don’t seem to be taking the bait.
Data indicates that the very nature of online shopping is decreasing the need for consumers to shop in stores. Aside from convenience and avoiding large, boisterous crowds, 77% of online shoppers over the holiday weekend claimed they turned to online shopping because they could find comparable, if not better, deals, according to data from the Consumer Electronics Association.
Tracking online sales data for a variety of retailers, IBM Smarter Commerce still anticipates Cyber Monday to be at the forefront of online shopping all year. “Retailers are holding back some inventory and working on new promotions to (entice) consumers to continue to shop Monday and throughout the whole week,” said Jay Henderson, director of IBM Smarter Commerce.