Traditionally, Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year, as the day after Thanksgiving unofficially kicks off the holiday gift-buying season. In recent years, Cyber Monday joined the sales push, with many retailers offering online sales on the Monday after Thanksgiving. We saw on the news this weekend, some bricks & mortar stores that opened early had crowds that were out of control. Whether these scenes scare some customers away is up for debate, but in any event, the early data suggests that online sales are becoming increasingly important, fueled in large measure by the growing presence of mobile devices. Led by smartphones and tablets, here are some trends reported by IBM for Black Friday and Cyber Monday over the 2013 Thanksgiving weekend:
Undoubtedly, the ease of use and mobility of smartphones and tablets is here to stay. People love being connected not only to friends sand family, but to information as well. Tablets are much smaller and lighter than laptops, reducing the schlep factor. The growing importance of mobile devices most likely led to the recent decision to ease restrictions on using them on airplane flights. With the ability to download apps of your own choosing, I think we can say that tablets and smartphones have truly become the personal computers of 2013 and the foreseeable future.
If you check your Inbox today, it probably seems that every other e-mail is from a retailer advertising its Cyber Monday sale items. This followed last week's frenzy for Black Friday. There was even a new promotion added this year - Small Business Saturday. If all of these events help to get our economy back on track, that should be a good thing, although it shouldn't be at the cost of near-riots as people line up to get into stores in the middle of the night.
Why do we even have Cyber Monday? The answer to that probably lies in the ways most people are now connected. Although there has been a decline in personal computer usage, mobile devices - particularly smartphones and tablets - continue to reach new heights. You can shop in the comfort of your own home at any time of the day or night. You can shop while commuting on a train (if you have a decent signal). You don't have to deal with traffic and hazardous weather conditions. It is probably safer to securely transmit your credit card information than to have someone standing behind you in a crowded store.
The impact of Cyber Monday should become apparent in the next day or two as retailers report on their sales results. Just looking at Black Friday, as well as the stores that opened on Thanksgiving Day itself, we see the tremendous impact mobile shopping is having already. According to Black Friday Report 2012: IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark, online sales on Thanksgiving Day were up 17.4% over 2011, while Black Friday sales were up 20.7%. Use of a mobile device to view a retailer's website jumped from 14.3% in 2011 to 24% in 2012. Mobile sales increased from 9.8% to 16%. The iPad was the preferred mobile device for online shopping (10%), followed by the iPhone (8.7%) and Android (5.5%). For those using tablets, the iPad accounted for nearly 90% of online shopping traffic.
Without a doubt, iPads (including the new iPad Mini), iPhones, Kindle Fires, and Nooks, among others, will be popular gifts this holiday season. It would seem highly probable that these trends will continue to gain momentum for the foreseeable future.
Blog Author - Ken Felsher
With over 25 years of writing, editing, and research experience. I enjoy sharing with my readers my love of working with content on a variety of subjects.
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