- Cyber Monday is increasingly posing a threat to Black Friday as consumers opt to score deals on the Monday after Thanksgiving rather than the day after.
- As we move into the holiday shopping season, we took a look at several studies that predict major wins for Cyber Monday, and what this means for the future of Black Friday.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Though Black Friday as we know it first became a national phenomenon in the 1980s, the term “Cyber Monday” wasn’t coined until 2005, when Ellen Davis – senior vice president of research and strategic initiatives for the National Retail Federation – noticed the trend of retailers offering discounts from the then-nascent realm of e-commerce.
Since then, Cyber Monday has exploded in popularity, resonating with consumers who are ditching doorbusters in favour of making purchases from the comfort of their couches. As we move into the holiday shopping season, several studies predict major wins for Cyber Monday. Here’s why it might mean the end for Black Friday.
The widening divide between Black Friday and Cyber Monday
This week, Business Insider and global technology company Morning Consult published the results of a joint survey that analysed the holiday shopping behaviours of more than 2,300 adult Americans. One of our biggest takeaways was that across nearly all demographics – including age, sex, race, gender, and household income – shoppers prefer to make purchases on Cyber Monday.
Notably, the higher the income bracket, the more likely a survey respondent preferred Cyber Monday to Black Friday. Additionally, with the exception of Gen Z, shoppers across generations said they would rather participate in online sales on Monday rather than on Friday.
Part of the shift, according to a study by global consulting firm Simon-Kucher & Partners, is that many consumers have started viewing Black Friday as a means for browsing deals, as opposed to Cyber Monday, when shoppers are making purchases with intent and “checking predetermined items off their lists [and] focused on purchasing specific products.”
The study notes a growing “dichotomy” between how the two shopping holidays are perceived. Cyber Monday can be a second chance to score a deal that was missed on Friday or that the shopper hadn’t yet decided on. According to Hubert Paul, director at Simon-Kucher, there is also a growing sense of fatigue with each passing year as holiday deals start earlier and earlier, ultimately impacting the way consumers engage with Black Friday.
“Instead of racing to be the first ones out there, retailers should consider investing time to understand what the top-of-mind products are and which deals resonate best for the upcoming holiday season,” Paul wrote in a statement. “Retailers who do this well will be best suited to drive traffic to their stores and site when consumers are ready to shop.”
Further pushing the divide: Several retailers have started posting more deals on Cyber Monday than on Black Friday, according to the e-commerce site DealNews.
“While Black Friday gets all the press, we actually posted 10% more deals on Cyber Monday last year – and 16% more deals that earned our Staff Pick designation, meaning they were among the best sales we saw,” wrote DealNews contributor Elizabeth Harper.
Cyber Monday reigns supreme
Even for retailers that have pivoted away from the Black Friday doorbuster in favour of online sales, shoppers are still leaning in favour of Cyber Monday.
According to the Adobe Analytics annual holiday shopping forecast, online shopping “will hit new highs” for the duration of the 2019 holiday shopping season. However, when looking specifically at individual shopping days, it estimates online sales will reach $US9.4 billion on Cyber Monday as compared to just $US7.5 billion on Black Friday.
In total, Adobe Analytics found that Cyber Week – the five-day period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday – is expected to bring in $US29 billion online. Adobe contributed expected online sales growth to the rise of shopping on smartphones, and the advent of the “shopping mall in your pocket.”
“Smartphone shopping will be responsible for almost 50% of retail holiday growth,” Adobe Analytics wrote. “With retailers optimising for mobile, money we spend per minute browsing on smartphones have increased by 63% since 2016 from 30 cents to 47 cents per min.”
Still, Paul, the director at Simon-Kucher, said retailers can still identify strategies to make both days play to their favour, and a brand may be remiss to fully do away with the doorbuster.
“While the two holidays are turning more and more each year into a holiday shopping weekend, there are still distinct opportunities for retailers to capitalise on,” Paul wrote in a statement. “We still see that Black Friday shoppers are more likely to seek deals in-store over online, which is likely because they have become accustomed to chasing after doorbuster deals.”
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