‘Black Friday’ Trampled by ‘Cyber Monday’ Online Sales

‘Black Friday’ Trampled by ‘Cyber Monday’ Online Sales

IBM’s third annual Cyber Monday Benchmark Report shows an increase of 19.4 percent from 2009 sales, and a whopping 31.1 percent increase in Cyber Monday’s online sales over brick-and-mortar sales on Black Friday. It may be time for me to retire my sleeping bag, lawn chair and “I’d Walk Over You for Sam Walton!” sweatshirt.

“Cyber Monday came in as the biggest shopping day of the year so far,” IBM Coremetrics’ chief strategy officer, John Squire, told Marketwatch. “Consumers this year,” he said, “appear much more willing to open their wallets and are turning to online stores for the convenience of shopping wherever and whenever they like, but also as their primary source of information about products and inventory levels.”

“Retailers,” Mr. Squire notes, “have done an exceptional job across the board of appealing to consumers with highly personalized promotions and a slew of free shipping promotions.”

While overall sales increases were decidedly impressive, the IBM Report highlights sales increases of 60.1 percent for jewelry retailers. Call me skeptical, sentimental or just plain old-fashioned, but doesn’t a “point-and-click” purchase of jewelry take all the fun out of Christmas shopping?

Jewelry has always been one of my favorite gifts to buy and give, and as the father of two daughters (aged 17 and 22) who were born in November and December, respectively, half the thrill is walking out of the store with the conspicuously small, gift wrapped presents I know will kindle a sparkle in their eyes.  Moreover, I know that a trip to the jewelers is the most likely strategy for me to kill ‘two birds with one stone,’ excuse the pun.

[JUST IN: MSNBC reports Cyber Monday sales topped $1 billion U.S.]

The IBM report paints a picture of online purchaser’s who were digitally ‘camped out’ like virtual would-be-Walmart shoppers stalking the very best deals available this Christmas shopping season. “Consumers flocked online,” IBM reports, “with shopping momentum hitting its peak at 9:00 a.m. PST/noon EST.” although “consumer shopping maintained stronger momentum throughout the day than on Cyber Monday 2009.”

Certainly, the increased traditional media focus on Cyber Monday helped boost online sales. While increasingly nervous U.S. consumers have boosted their savings rate from 2 percent to 6 percent, IBM reports there is a “pent-up demand this holiday season for consumer electronics and appliances, both of which are typically seen as necessities in the present-day economy.”

With the surge of online marketing and sales, combined with a still-challenged economy, it will be interesting to see the breadth and depth of the marketing campaigns online retailers will inevitably roll out for ‘Cyber Boxing Day.” One can’t help but wonder if we are not that far from a truly ‘Cyber Christmas,’ which would see consumers disappointed with what was under the tree logging on to fill in the gaps on their Christmas ‘Wish Lists’.

James Barry is a freelance writer covering online marketing and related topics for Wolf21.com, a comprehensive Toronto-based SEO company.


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