It is the season to be jolly; and in the United States, that translates into holiday shopping! While the shopping season has already started, the two important shopping festivals – Black Friday and Cyber Monday – have put on their gloves and are in the ring to fight for the most popular shopping day title. Media is rife with predictions and marketing agencies with their surveys.
While the terms still are a talking point, they haven’t been unleashing a shopping frenzy yet. In fact, many retailers have now spread out their promotions over the entire months of November and December, making it a mini gift-buying season with new deals released periodically, rather than concentrating them on a single shopping day or weekend.
What is Black Friday?
The day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, Black Friday marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Since 1932, on the fourth Thursday of November, most major retailers in the US open very early – as early as overnight hours – and offer promotional sales. This year, Black Friday is on November 25.
Touted as the busiest shopping day of the year since 2005, the term Black Friday was coined in 1961. It represented the point in the year when retailers begin to turn a profit, thus going from being “in the red” to being “in the black”.
And what is Cyber Monday?
The Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday in the US, Cyber Monday is a shopping festival created by marketing companies to boost online shopping. In 2005, senior vice-president of the National Retail Federation Ellen Davis coined the term and Cyber Monday made its debut on November 28, 2005.
This year Cyber Monday will be observed on November 28.
Black Friday Vs Cyber Monday
Traditionally, Cyber Monday deals are online-only and offered by smaller retailers. Amazon Black Friday Specials is organised by big retailers, and generally give better deals on technology.
Black Friday sets itself apart from Cyber Monday with a stronger focus on flash sales, doorbusters, and individual product deals. While Cyber Monday is more product-centric, Black Friday has a focus on storewide sales.
According to a newswire report, this year Cyber Monday will become the top shopping holiday of the year by dethroning Black Friday in popularity. Quoting an online survey conducted by IPSOS Public Affairs on behalf of Offers.com, the report indicates that a whopping 89% of respondents are searching for deals or coupons online while holiday-shopping. Consumers are increasingly opting for convenience of online shopping, rather than jostling the crowds for deals.
Earlier, Adobe Digital Insights had shared optimistic 2016 holiday predictions. According to the prediction, Black Friday sales are expected to exceed $3 billion, an 11.5% increase over last year. Cyber Monday’s sales will exceed $3 billion, an increase of 9.4% over last year. About 5% of customers will drive 35% of the revenue.
However, there is a twist. A recent news article says that Veterans Day – the first peak of several peak spending days during the holiday season – failed to kick off holiday spending. It reports that the sales were $380 million lower at $1.16 billion. The report, quoting Adobe Digital Insights, indicated that the sales registered a measly one per cent growth year-on-year, when the predicted growth was 16%.
But at end of the day, these are still predictions. Both the events will attract consumer attention during the ultra-competitive holiday shopping.
Upshot of the shopping holiday
When it comes to the faceoff between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, there is no clear winner. Both can offer huge savings to the informed shopper, and both can now be navigated online. According to experts, there is a simple way to look at it. If a consumer is keen on tech or doesn’t have time on Friday, then he can shop on Monday. At end of the day, the two shopping holidays still offer the most spectacular discounts and deals.