Black Friday -- and this year Brown Thursday -- are gone. Cyber Monday is around the corner.
By some accounts, Monday's online shopping bonanza is going to be huge. A Nielsen Co. survey shows that 46% of respondents plan to do some shopping on Cyber Monday, up from 30% last year. That's a better than 50% increase, but I'm not buying it. There are more than a few reasons why Cyber Monday is no longer the big deal that the e-commerce industry would like you to believe it to be.
Let's dive in.
1. The calendar has forced online sales earlier this year
Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) has historically been a major beneficiary of Cyber Monday. The leading online retailer saw orders for 26.5 million items worldwide last year, and there's no doubting that this year will be another record.
However, Amazon has already jumped the gun by offering holiday shopping deals even before Black Friday this time around. Why? Well, look at a calendar. Thanksgiving is the fourth Thursday of every month, and the latest possible timing of the holiday shopping season this year finds it contrasting last year's earliest possible start. Put another way, Cyber Monday is taking place six days later than last year. The push from November to December is substantial, and folks have already been treated to great online deals for days.
2. Folks trust e-tailers more with every passing year
A big reason for the initial success of Cyber Monday is that too many people got burned by ordering too late. Amazon had some rare stumbles, but it was typically bricks-and-mortar chains that often got called out from holiday shoppers placing online orders that didn't arrive on time.
That has changed, and Amazon's speedy deliveries have gone a long way to make folks more comfortable ordering well into December. Why Amazon is even sweetening the speed in key markets with Sunday deliveries via the United States Postal Service.
The origin of Cyber Monday -- where folks would return to work on Monday frustrated with the deals that they couldn't get so they scrambled to make something happen online -- is no longer valid. Online shopping is reliable.
3. The mobile revolution makes Monday less important
Another thing that made Cyber Monday so potent -- and I was among the first to write about the trend after it was coined in 2005 -- was that many consumers didn't have routine access to the Internet eight year ago.
There were no tablets. We were two years away from the iPhone making smartphones a consumer staple. A lot of people didn't even have reliable Internet connections at home, making Monday at work an ideal time to start scouring for deals.
Things are very different today. Few shoppers will have gone this entire weekend without some form of online interaction, and that makes Monday less critical.
Naturally you won't find e-tailers telling you that. They will be cramming your inbox with Cyber Monday propaganda. However, there will also be more missives through the next three weeks and change touting other online sales.
Web retail is about so much more than a single day. It was nice knowing you, Cyber Monday.