Monday, November 24, 2008

Retailers Counting on Cyber Monday as Bright Spot of Challenging Holiday Season

People who don’t want to fight Black Friday crowds will have a less chaotic shopping option just three days later. Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, is expected to be more promotional than ever this year as retailers offer one-day sales and special offers to bring holiday shoppers online.

On Cyber Monday, the ceremonial kickoff to the online holiday shopping season, online retailers will debut thousands of promotions to show what websites have to offer this holiday season. According to the eHoliday Survey, conducted for this fall by Shopzilla, 83.7 percent of retailers will have a special promotion for Cyber Monday, up from 72.2 percent last year. The most popular promotions are expected to be specific deals (38.8%), email campaigns (32.7%), and one-day sales (24.5%). Additionally, nearly one-fourth of retailers (22.5%) will offer free shipping on all purchases.

Cyber Monday, a term coined by in 2005, began after online retailers noticed a trend of people shopping online on the Monday after Thanksgiving. Since then, consumers have flooded websites on Cyber Monday and come to expect robust promotions and specials that day.

To get a handle on holiday shopping, office workers won’t be heading to the mall over their lunch hour, they’ll be staying at their desk. This year, according to a BIGresearch survey conducted for, 55.8 percent of workers with Internet access, or 72.8 million people, will shop for holiday gifts from work. The trend of employees with internet access shopping from the office has continued to increase: in 2005, only 44.7 percent said they shopped online from work.

Though slightly more than half of workers will be shopping from the office, some are more likely to make a dent in their wish lists than others. According to the BIGresearch survey, 70.0 percent of young adults 18-34 with Internet access will shop at work. Additionally, men are more likely to shop from work than women (60.3% vs. 51.5%).

Though retailers will be going all-out for Cyber Monday this year, many are also planning to use their websites to drive traffic to stores for Black Friday. According to the eHoliday study, one-fourth of retailers (28.6%) plan to increase online marketing of Black Friday promotions this year. Marketing will include emails about stores’ Black Friday deals (74.3%), mention of Black Friday deals on the retailer’s home page (62.9%) and search marketing (54.3%).

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