Why fight with crowds on Friday when you can shop from your office on Monday or, even, the couch on Sunday night? Cyber Monday is still Black Friday’s little brother — depending on how you count them, Friday’s real-world sales are about three times larger than Monday’s digital sales — but online shopping continues to soar in popularity.
Once again this year, Cyber Monday is expected to be the largest online shopping day in history. According to Adobe Systems, which analyzes data from more than 4,500 major companies worldwide, Black Friday online sales will hit $2.7 billion, just a tic short of Cyber Monday’s $3 billion.
Getting a Digital Head Start
This year, like Black Friday, Cyber “Monday” is growing longer. Walmart has announced its digital deals will be available starting Sunday at 8 p.m., while Target says its sales will last for a whole week. Of course, many stores will have holiday sales as soon as Thanksgiving. In perhaps the most depressing trend, Thanksgiving Day will be the fastest growing online sales day for the second consecutive year, according to Adobe, with an 18% increase and $1.6 billion in sales. (Let’s hope all that shopping happens long after dinner is eaten, dishes are done, and the family has chatted all day.)
“Holiday shopping is a huge investment, and consumers get more sophisticated every year with their online and mobile shopping in order to secure the most popular gifts at the best prices,” Tamara Gaffney, principal research analyst of Adobe’s Digital Index, said in a press release. “The average U.S. Internet user will spend a total of $305 online in November and December, with an average of $11 on Cyber Monday … Both months combined will drive more than 22% of the total annual online sales for U.S. retailers.”
Profiling the 2015 Holiday Shopping Season
Other things you’ll notice about digital shopping this year: mobile shopping has come of age. Some 29% of online sales will be generated by mobile devices on turkey day, a 12% increase from last year, likely because many people are traveling and away from their desktop computers, or with family and unable to pull out a laptop.
Another phenomenon that will become reality this holiday season is same-day shipping. The National Retail Federation says 17% of 18- to 24-year-olds and 16% of 25- to 34-year-olds plan to take advantage of retailers’ same-day delivery options this holiday season. (Will they all deliver flawlessly on Cyber Monday? That remains to be seen.)
When predicting the entire holiday shopping season, Adobe estimates that some $83 billion will be spent online, but most of it will be on a slim set of items – 67% of sales will be devoted to just 1% of products, primarily electronics (60%) and gift cards (10%).
When to Cyber Shop
So, if you are going bargain hunting (after the dishes are done) during this extended Cyber Monday, when is the best time to shop? Veteran hunters know that’s a two-pronged question, involving 1) where are the best deals and 2) when do those deals sell out? Adobe crunched some numbers in an attempt to guess the best time for various holiday items. (Your mileage may vary, of course.)
“Saturday before Thanksgiving (Nov. 21) will offer the largest, single-day price drop for toys, with an average discount of 18%,” the company wrote. “The best deals for electronics (18% discount on average) will be offered on the Monday before Thanksgiving (Nov. 23). For jewelry, discounts will peak at 25% on Thanksgiving Day, while apparel items will be discounted throughout the season.”
Whenever you decide to do your online shopping, it’s a good idea to safeguard your credit card or debit card information by sticking to secure sites, using private Wi-Fi and avoiding links in unsolicited emails. You can also monitor your credit for signs your identity has been stolen if you have reason to believe your personal information has been compromised. (You can view your credit reports for free each year at AnnualCreditReport.com and see your credit scores for free each month on Credit.com.)
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