Cyber Monday is the first Monday after Thanksgiving. In 2012, it falls on November 26.
Cyber Monday was christened by Shop.org in 2005, because it’s known for online shopping sales. It follows the bricks-and-mortar shopping done on Black Friday, the first shopping day after Thanksgiving. Each year, new records are set as more and more people enjoy the convenience of shopping online.
In 2012, online holiday sales are expected to grow 12%, to $96 billion. That’s because 51.8% of people will take advantage of web-based sales, up from the 46.7% in 2011. On average, each person will do more than a third (38.8%) of their shopping online.
In 2011, Cyber Monday sales were $1.2 billion, up a whopping 22% over Cyber Monday 2010. On average, nearly 11% of shoppers used their mobile devices to visit retailers’ web sites. What were the most popular devices? The iPhone and iPad, followed by the Android.
Nearly 130 million Americans said they would shop on Cyber Monday – a third more than last year. More than half said they’d shop from work – naturally, during lunch hour or right after work.
The holiday shopping season is important for the economy because 19% of retail sales occur between Black Friday and Christmas. For some retailers, such as jewelers, it can be nearly 40% of their annual revenue.
Retailers Planned Bigger Sales
Thanks to the growing success of Cyber Monday, nearly 70% of online retailers expected their sales to increase at least 15% in 2011. This was even more optimistic than last year, when only two-thirds thought their sales would rise, and in 2009, when less than half thought so.
As a result, this year just about 90% of retailers offered great online sales. Nearly all offered free shipping, which was a large reason for the success of the record-setting 2010 Cyber Monday. This success spurred more than half of retailers to increase their “free shipping” budget, while one-third of retailers offered free shipping even earlier than they did last year. These retailers are smart, because 36% of shoppers surveyed said they’d increase their online shopping only if shipping were free.
Nearly half of the retailers offered coupons or a percent off deals (45.0%), while more than one-third had limited-time-only promotions. Fewer (15%) promoted a free gift-with-purchase.
Online retailers lured shoppers to Cyber Monday by promoting their sales even earlier than last year. More than half started their promotions by Halloween. These retailers are smart, since Halloween 2011 was the most successful spooky holiday yet. Nearly 40% waited a few weeks, starting their Cyber Monday promotions in mid-November. Just over half started promoting on Thanksgiving Day itself, while nearly all (92.2%) offered sales sometime over the Thanksgiving weekend.
Why Holiday Shoppers Are Switching to Cyber Monday
Cyber Monday shoppers are very clear about why they like the day. More than 40% of time-strapped shoppers said the 24-hour convenience is their highest priority. Almost as many listed their desire to avoid the crowds on Black Friday as their primary reason for shopping online. Nearly a third of online shoppers said they like the ability to easily compare prices. A few online shoppers said they would buy less, thanks to expensive shipping charges, not being able to see or handle their purchase ahead of time, and having to wait for it to be shipped.
Shoppers are using social media more than ever. Nearly one third said they would go to a company’s Facebook page to get additional information about Cyber Monday sales. Twice as many would look at customer reviews on the company’s website before buying any products or services.
Growing Importance of Mobile Technology and Social Media
Online retailers are responding to shoppers’ use of mobile technology and social media by promoting there. More than half of retailers made sure their website sales were optimized for mobile devices. Another 20% were even optimizing for tablet device apps. More than a third used QR codes in magazine and billboard ads.
Online retailers also maximized their use of social media. Nearly three-quarters said they would promote sales on their Facebook pages, while more than 40% promoted on Twitter.
More than half (52.9%) of those who own smartphones, and even more (64.1%) of tablet-users will use them to do their holiday shopping. Nearly a third of smartphone users will research prices, while a fourth will find out store locations and sales. Only 15% will actually buy products with their phone.
With tablet users, on the other hand, the percentages go up,. More than 40% will compare prices, while 20% will redeem coupons. Most important, nearly a third will go ahead and buy online. (Source: National Retail Federation Annual 2012 Survey)
How to Get the Best Cyber Monday Deals
Retail sales can be found on CyberMonday.com, which features a schedule of what retailers offer deals at what times in a “Deal of the Hour” promotion. You can find sales from more than 800 online retailers.