Much ado has been made by numerous mainstream media organizations that Cyber Monday is not the draw it once was. Pundits say the new “Thanksgiving Night door busters” are stealing sales away. Others say it is the proliferation of online deals that stretch from Friday to Sunday that are softening sales. Some even say online retailers are no longer focused on that one-day sale any more.
Thankfully, these non-industry working pundits that are somehow experts on our industry are all wrong.
Cyber Monday is real and its now going away anytime soon. ComScore showed in 2011 that sales on Cyber Monday rose 25% over 2010, increasing from $1B to $1.25B. This year, projections by ComScore forecast a 20% increase in sales on Cyber Monday for 2012. Since when did 20% growth signal the death of a promotional sales strategy? Imagine the stock price jumps Wal-Mart or Target would see if they posted such year over year growth numbers at store front?
The reality is Cyber Monday is here to stay just like every other manufactured sales promotion like Valentine’s Day or Columbus Day. The difference here is Cyber Monday has a much more powerful draw than those other manufactured sales promo days – online only retailers whose goods cannot be purchased anywhere but the online sales channel. Due to that unique selling proposition, those pundits can bet their houses that Cyber Monday will continue to grow at a double-digit growth in the immediate future.
Cyber Monday marketers can find confidence in how consumers are engaging with the web and embracing Cyber Monday is an independent shopping experience. Leading into 2011, Cyber Monday was a day for shoppers that lost out in the shopping cart races down Toys ‘R Us aisles looking to find that item that had vanished from the shelf. In 2011, that behavior changed.
ComScore’s research showed shopping spend by time of day dramatically shifted. The level of spend occurring between midnight and 9am increased by 300% year over year. This suggests consumers have embraced Cyber Monday as another opportunity to get a great deal from a host of different retailers. No longer are disappointed brick-and-mortar shoppers looking for a solution to their missed sale opportunity. They are seeking out online-only specials unavailable elsewhere.
The moral of the story for online marketers: Don’t take strategic advisement from journalists that have not walked a day in your shoes. Cyber Monday is alive and well. And with growth of the viral effects of social media, no major slowdown should be expected in the immediate future. Just simply log into your Facebook or Twitter account this morning to judge for yourself.