Cyber Monday Creates Holiday Shopping Buzz

Traditional retailers pulled out all the stops to drive traffic and sales to brick-and-mortar stores on Black Friday. But online retailers have set their sights on what is expectantly known as Cyber Monday.

Both days revolve around Thanksgiving and both days mean big bucks for retailers.

The day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday has for many years marked the official start of the holiday shopping season. But online retailers have candy cane dreams about Cyber Monday, which comes three days after Thanksgiving and is one of the biggest online shopping days of the year.

Growing Trend

For the past few years, online retailers have found that sales on the Monday after Thanksgiving have been creeping higher, giving retailers an additional reason to be jolly.

According to the Shop.org/BizRate Research 2005 eHoliday Mood Study, 77 percent of online retailers said that their sales increased substantially last year on the Monday after Thanksgiving, a trend that is driving serious online discounts and promotions on Cyber Monday this year.

“On Cyber Monday, consumers set their sights on surfing for holiday gifts and shopping online,” said Scott Silverman, executive director of Shop.org. “This year, online retailers will be capitalizing on the increased traffic by offering special promotions and discounts.”

Ready, Set, Go!

Nielsen//NetRatings Retail Analyst Heather Dougherty told the E-Commerce Times that online retailers are doing a good job with their holiday marketing promotions this year. She expects Cyber Monday to be a smashing success. Nielsen//NetRatings will issue results later this week.

“Consumers have spent the weekend with their family and they’ve been in the stores. They now have a holiday list going. And today is the first day that people are back at work in front of their computers,” Dougherty said.

“It’s a good time for online retailers to send some e-mail messaging to entice customers to both visit the site as well as potentially pull the trigger.”

Pulling the Visitors

Experts believe that an increase in Web traffic could stem from the fact that consumers may have faster or more secure Internet connections at work and choose to shop there, or that they were unable to finish all of their shopping over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Analysts also expect many consumers to shop on Cyber Monday from home after work or when their children are sleeping. Regardless of the reason or the time of day, consumers are expected to head online in droves on Cyber Monday, many during work hours.

Shopping While You Work

According to a recent Shop.org survey, conducted by BIGresearch, more than one third of consumers (37 percent), or 51.7 million people, said they will use Internet access at work to browse or buy gifts online this holiday season.

The survey found that more than half of young adults 18-24 (51 percent) and nearly half of those 25-34 (49 percent) will be shopping online during work hours. The survey also found that men (42 percent) are more likely than women (32 percent) to shop at the office.

Online retailers will be ready for the surge in sales, and many are offering extra incentives to encourage people to shop online. According to the eHoliday Mood Study, 43 percent of online retailers plan to offer special promotions and discounts on Cyber Monday. Deals will range from free shipping to gifts with purchase to percentages off.

Learning From the Past

According to the survey, the biggest Cyber Monday winners last year were jewelry/luxury retailers, with 89 percent of Web sites seeing substantial increases in sales, and consumer electronics retailers at 86 percent. Retailers who offer food, beverages, or other gourmet items (83 percent) and furniture and home decor (80 percent) also saw above-average sales surges.

Online retailers also planned for large-scale promotions on Thanksgiving Day, when most retail stores were closed. The survey found that 36 percent of online retailers offered special promotions and sales on Thanksgiving Day. Some even offered their Black Friday discounts one day early on their Web sites.

According to results released last month, all of the companies surveyed expect to see online sales increases from 2004. Some retailers are expecting big gains, with 57 percent of online retailers expecting holiday sales to increase by 30 percent or more compared to last year. One in five online retailers will experience hyper growth with sales of 75 percent or higher.

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