You’ve probably seen the holiday shopping reports. “Holiday Sales ‘Perfectly Average So Far” via CNBC, and “Black Friday Sales Down More Than $1 Billion” via Time. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Adweek reported, “Target Says Cyber Monday Traffic Has Been Twice as High as Our Busiest Day Ever” while Reuters says that “U.S. Cyber Monday Sales Jump, High Traffic Leads to Website Outages,” which shared that sales have grown by at least 14% and are on track to set a record as of 3pm on Cyber Monday.
So, what do these reports indicate about consumer behavior? For starters, Cyber Monday is outpacing Black Friday in terms of growth and will most likely continue to do so. People are valuing their time, sanity, and the ability to shop in their pajamas over hitting the stores Thanksgiving evening or crazy early on Black Friday. Support for campaigns that encourage consumers to avoid Black Friday, like REI’s very successful #OptOutside push, point to a trend in making sure your shopping and spending habits align with your core beliefs.
People are also growing weary of being bombarded by messages and often don’t want to be told what they should or could buy. Instead, more people are searching for specific items they know they want to buy from the comfort of their home over the internet. Issues like finding the correct size, an empty shelf, or a store having a specific item in stock in the color you want disappear when you can search online for exactly what you want. Convenience is overtaking physical shopping in many instances.
As Reuters stated, “The data underscored the ongoing shift in shopping to online retailers...consumers are hyped for Cyber Monday, with social buzz more positive than what we saw on Black Friday.” In addition, they reported that “mobile, which includes phones and tablets, accounted for 53% of shopping visits driving 32% of online sales.”
So, businesses must take advantage of the growing trend to shop online by ensuring they have a user-friendly, mobile website that allow for, when possible, online purchases of goods or services. In addition, businesses need to work to draw people to their website with inbound marketing versus being too focused on outbound marketing.
What are your thoughts about Black Friday versus Cyber Monday?