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Consumers may prefer Cyber Monday to Black Friday

November 19, 2013

For years, Black Friday has been considered the biggest shopping day of the year, with consumers lining up in the early morning, shortly after their Thanksgiving dinners, to take advantage of lower-than-ever prices.

For years, Black Friday has been considered the biggest shopping day of the year, with consumers lining up in the early morning, shortly after their Thanksgiving dinners, to take advantage of lower-than-ever prices. However, they now may prefer the easy transactions offered by online payment processing terminals during the e-commerce equivalent of Black Friday, known as Cyber Monday. 

Nielsen reported today that 85 percent of all consumers are planning to avoid brick-and-mortar stores altogether this Black Friday, a sobering statistic for many retailers. However, these lost sales could be made up at online point of sale terminals later during the holiday season: the firm also found that 46 percent of consumers plan to shop online during Cyber Monday promotions, up significantly from the 30 percent who reported they would do so during 2012.

In fact, only 13 percent of respondents to Nielsen’s poll noted that they plan to shop in a physical store during this coming Black Friday, while 17 percent planned on doing so during 2012. The trend downward has been continuing for four years, according to the report. Cyber Monday shopping has been increasing in turn: for example, U.S. consumers spent 1.8 percent more time on retail sites during that day in 2012 than they did during the same timeframe in 2011. 

Consumers are tiring of played-out Black Friday promotions
One of the reasons many consumers prefer Cyber Monday to its in-store counterpart is that they’re tiring of over-hyped discounts: NerdWallet, for example, recently reported that 23 of the 25 Black Friday advertisements they analyzed were selling at least one product during 2013 at the same price that it was sold during 2012. Some of the duplicate discounts were even being advertised as “doorbusters,” even though the prices hadn’t changed across 12 months.

“Consumers automatically assume that everything in the store on Black Friday is a great deal,” explained Matthew Ong, senior retail analyst at NerdWallet. “That’s not even close to the truth. While stores certainly have some great deals on hand, many items advertised on Black Friday are selling for prices that consumers could have obtained them for as far back as last year.”

The overused sale prices at physical retail outlets have driven many shoppers to search for the best holiday deals online – so e-commerce retailers would do best to have their credit card payment processing pages running at full efficiency before Cyber Monday arrives. 

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