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Cyber Monday: Fact or Fiction

Cyber Monday Online shopping day
NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 25: Shoppers skip the lines and shop in peace on Black Friday with eBay mobile app while enjoying free treats from the Sweetery food truck – in Herald Square, NYC on November 25, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for eBay)

Marketing is an amazing thing. I would love to know the very first time someone actually used it. I’m guessing it was the Devil in the Garden of Eden. The Devil had a surplus of apples, created a marketing plan capitalizing on the “Forbidden Fruit” label and got the serpent to deliver the advertising message to Eve and an industry was born.

From that day forward, people have made a good living finding ways to move products and services by creating and need and delivering it with emotional advertising messages. I’m sure you read or saw the throngs of people trampling each other to purchase some bargain they saw in the stores advertising insert in the newspaper or saw on TV. I think it’s interesting that the day after we give thanks for all the things we have — we somehow have to have more. That’s the power of marketing. Which brings us to Cyber Monday.

No Trampling Today

Today, on Cyber Monday, millions of Americans will push the “On” button on their computers and Google “Cyber Monday Specials.” There will be no standing in line, braving the bitter wind and cold, no running through the store to make sure you are first at the counter. No battling for a parking place near the store’s entrance. No blood, bad language, or hospitalization. Most Americans will do their shopping at their workplace. Those who are off work will comfortably shop in their PJ’s with a nice morning cup of coffee, credit cards at the ready. How does marketing fit into this national obsession?

 Marketing Power

Never underestimate the power of marketing. It took time for Black Friday to obtain the power it wields today. Even through the busiest shopping day of the year is still the Saturday before Christmas no one can deny that Black Friday pulls in some pretty big bucks each year.

If Black Friday begins the shopping frenzy weekend, then marketing demands a way to keep it going. Since online sales are steadily increasing as more and more consumers are buying online each year, why not create a day just for them? Did it work? Not all that well in the beginning. There have been several days between Thanksgiving and Christmas in past years that are bigger online shopping days than Cyber Monday. That is until last year. Last year, for the very first time, online sales for Cyber Monday passed the $1 billion dollar mark.

Retail Benefits of Cyber Monday

Forty percent of online shoppers begin their Christmas shopping before Halloween. And shoppers who shop both in stores AND online spend an average of 25% more than those who only shop in stores. In 2005, the first year of Cyber Monday, sales were $608 million. Since then online sales have shown double digit growth each year except for 2009.

Cyber Monday 2012 could be all over the place due to the current economy and unemployment. But is 2012 any worse than 2011 at this same time? With more smart phones, iPads, and shopping apps in shoppers hands, it’s not a question of, “will online sales again surpass last year,” it’s a question of, “by how much?”

Some Final Thoughts

Like it or not, America is a country of “free enterprise” and capitalism. This holiday shopping season is expected to reach $20 billion dollars or more. Some would favor that money being used to help the poor or other worthy causes. While that would be admirable use of shopping dollars, and many people will give to churches, charities, and other groups and organizations this holiday season, there is still a pretty good case for each individual to decide how and where to disperse their funds. If you are getting online today, please remember that local retailers also take part in Cyber Monday. Buy Local.

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