In the buildup to Cyber Monday 2012, a Mashable post headline wondered whether the concept of Cyber Monday was “Losing Its Luster.” USA Today explored the idea that the day has become “ho-hum,” and that “online shoppers don’t need Cyber Monday anymore.” AOL’s Daily Finance stated that e-commerce’s big holiday may be becoming “obsolete.”
Then Cyber Monday 2012 actually took place, and an epic day of online sales was the result: a record-high $1.5 billion in e-commerce transactions, representing a whopping 30% increase over Cyber Monday 2011. To paraphrase the famous line, reports of Cyber Monday’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Despite the headlines indicating otherwise, experts quoted in the stories above admit as much, like this snippet from USA Today:
“To say Cyber Monday is obsolete just sounds foolish,” says Sucharita Mulpuru, a retail analyst at Forrester, a technology research firm. Forrester predicts that November and December will draw $68.4 billion in online revenue, a 15% increase over 2011. Cyber Monday is crucial to that, she says, and bigger than ever. “It is the biggest shopping day of the year for Web retailers — it is huge.”
Nonetheless, Cyber Monday is but one day in a season that expands every year. In the same way that that Black Friday is losing importance in terms of single-day sales while still functioning as the centerpiece of an enormously important shopping period, Cyber Monday is also morphing into an online shopping high point during a season of e-commerce highs. E-commerce deals on par with Cyber Monday began popping up days, if not weeks ago, and they’re guaranteed to keep appearing in the days and weeks ahead. Here are some insights from one shopping expert, via the Daily Finance post:
“The trend is to keep Cyber Monday going all week,” says Brent Shelton, a spokesman for deal site FatWallet, who adds that the week is followed by other big online shopping events. “We’re expecting Cyber Monday II on Dec. 3, and then there’s Green Monday on Dec. 10 — FedEx’s biggest shipping day, and what used to be the biggest shopping day of the year.”
Many retailers began rolling out online Black Friday specials on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Online-only sellers such as TigerDirect and Amazon are in the midst of hosting entire “Cyber Weeks,” as are brick-and-mortar-based giants like Walmart and Target. Toys R Us extended its Cyber Monday sales to Tuesday, while also announcing a new “Super Sale” for the middle of the week.
By now, we should also know what to expect when any of these sales ends: Yep, more deals and promotions. Last year, many retailers even introduced last-minute online specials that included free shipping guaranteed to arrive by December 24 for orders placed as late as December 23. The fact that the 23rd falls on a Sunday this year may complicate things. But it’s a sure bet that online and physical retailers are strategizing ways to tempt shoppers into scooping up gifts and impulse purchases right now, in the weeks ahead, and as close to Christmas as possible — with a guarantee of more deals and promotions to follow after that.