When Cyber Monday was invented back in 2005 as an online alternative to the bricks-and-mortar shopping bonanza known as Black Friday, online shopping was a much different animal. In fact, it was hardly a blip on the radar compared to now.
Back then – in the “old days” – massive discounts and added bonuses like free shipping were hugely attractive to online shoppers. But now, online shopping is dominated by these various elements. Almost always, shoppers can find discounted products and merchandise available for low or no shipping fees at all.
So why do we still need an official Cyber Monday if almost every day is Cyber Monday in reality?
“It is losing some of its luster,” Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD Group, admits to CNN. “As a result, online retailers are moving their sales earlier too.”
In the big picture, Cohen says, this means that retailers now have to promote throughout the whole holiday season to stay competitive.
Cyber Monday was, as we mentioned, the biggest online-sales day in the U.S. last year, but growth is flattening. Whereas 2011 saw 22% growth since 2010, Cohen said retailers will be lucky to see more than 10% growth this year, while overall online spending during the holiday period will rise 16.8% (per eMarketer). A recent survey conducted by Google found that Cyber Monday ranks “fairly low” on shoppers’ key days, with only 7% planning to purchase electronics on that day, and even less expecting to buy toys and apparel.
But can shoppers really get deals on Cyber Monday that are totally out of the question any other time of the year? In most cases, the rate of discounted prices is definitely higher as the holidays approach. But Cyber Monday sales are no longer as big of a deal as they used to be because they’re no longer so uncommon.
And in the end, that’s good for consumers.