Once all the turkey is gone and leftovers (if any) plated away, the biggest Christmas shoppers are already running out the door to get the best deals – before dessert is even served. Black Friday (News - Alert) has to be my least favorite day of the year. Don’t get me wrong – I love a good deal; I’d even like to consider myself a pretty decent bargain shopper, yet the idea of getting trampled for a stellar deal on a new flat screen TV gives me extreme anxiety (I’m getting anxious just thinking about it now). That’s why I stick to the Internet – and this year’s record breaking Cyber Monday (News - Alert) festivities show that I’m certainly not alone.
Cyber Monday sales were record breaking this year, rising 19 percent from 2012 as of 9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2, in NYC. This leads me to believe that retailers are beginning to jump on the online bandwagon more than ever, catering to smartphone and tablet users alike. Physical brick-and-mortar stores are feeling the burn, for they experienced the first spending decline on Black Friday weekend since 2009. Web sales on the other hand are predicted to skyrocket; they are expected to increase as much as 15 percent to $82 billion, with mobile devices driving 16 percent of these online purchases. Ron Josey, analyst at JMP Securities (News - Alert) Inc. in New York, commented on this increase in mobile sales, noting, “This is the first holiday season where mobile is absolutely having its mark on overall retail sales, whether that’s from a smartphone or a tablet. It’s not going away.”
Companies are becoming tech-savvy when it comes to luring in online shoppers. We have all received those enticing emails with impossible-to-beat sales on our favorite brands, and these companies know individuals who work in an office scan their email constantly throughout the day. Working individuals may not always have time to visit the physical store, and if the online deals are good why bother? It’s a matter of convenience for many, and as said by Stacy General, customer experience advocate for PayPal (News - Alert), “Consumers continue to expect to shop and pay at their convenience during the holiday season.”
Even the U.S. Postal Service has taken note of this dramatic increase in online shopping, and they expect to ship 420 million packages during the 2013 holiday season – a 12 percent increase from last year. And with many retailers subsidizing shipping in the spirit of the holiday season and Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos talks of delivery drones on 60 Minutes, it’s hard to say no to staying in and shopping from the couch. As technology progresses we always find new ways to live our lives, and online shopping is definitely giving physical stores a run for their money well into the future.