On the heels of Black Friday – one of the busiest days of the shopping season – is another opportunity for a joyful holiday season for retailers: Cyber Monday.
Online retailers are increasingly focused on the Monday after Thanksgiving, taking advantage of the convenience of the Internet to continue the momentum from the weekend shopping bonanza. Many consumers, unwilling to brave crowds during the after-Thanksgiving sales, will take advantage of the convenience of the Internet to shop.
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.”
Major big box retailers, like Wal-Mart, have started marketing their Cyber Monday sales, with a push to increase holiday sales early in the year.
“We’re trying to create as much excitement as we can for the holiday season,” said Gail Lavielle, a spokeswoman for the nation’s largest retailer. “And that includes online-only sales. We’re hoping to translate excitement from Black Friday to the Internet as well.”
Wal-Mart launched its holiday promotion early this year, decorating stores on Nov. 1. The retail giant hopes to ring in merry holiday sales with Internet-only discounts and free shipping, Lavielle said.
Surveys show that consumers will take advantage of the convenience of the Internet for their holiday shopping, with several using the office computer to make purchases during work hours.
According to a Shop.org survey conducted by BIGresearch, more than one third of consumers 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 and nearly half of those 25-34 will be shopping online during work hours. The survey also found that men are more likely than women 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.
While other retailers are focused on holiday sales offers, Michelle’s of Colorado, a Colorado Springs-based candy store, is bucking the trend. While the business has brisk Internet sales, the store does not rely on special holiday offers, said owner Andy Micheopoulous.
“The Internet has been clipping along at a regular pace,” he said. “It picks up for the holidays, especially once we start selling the holiday candy. Orders are coming in.”
Michelle’s is famous for its brightly colored ribbon candy, featured on the Food Network. When the network showcases Michelle’s candy, Internet sales rise, he said.
“But the Web is still a very small part of our business,” he said. “We only sell around 10 percent over the Internet.”
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, and furniture and home décor online retailers also saw above-average sales surges.