Cyber Monday to be biggest shopping day ever

Monday madness: Last year, Amazon customers ordered more than 64 million items worldwide. © Getty

Should we feel ashamed of how much we spend? Today, cyber Monday, is likely to break world records in Britain and America as the biggest single-day spend on consumer goods ever in history.

In 12 years, it has become the biggest shopping day of all. Cyber Monday sees shoppers snap up online deals just days after the big Black Friday sales. This year, some estimates suggest internet sales in the US alone will pass $6.6 billion.

The term “Cyber Monday,” which falls on the first Monday after the American holiday of Thanksgiving, was first coined by the US National Retail Federation in 2005 after it found that 77% of online retailers said that their sales increased substantially on the Monday after Thanksgiving.“

Holiday shopping has always been big over Thanksgiving weekend in the USA, and the American tradition has been gaining popularity around the world. This year, shoppers in the UK. are expected to spend around £8 billion over the four-day shopping weekend.

And many retailers rely on this weekend to boost their fourth quarter earnings, with Cyber Monday providing retailers with a chance to sell goods in greater volume than usual. By extending the “sale” season, many retailers hope to encourage customers to buy more. Last year Amazon reported that its customers purchased a record-breaking 740 items per second, with a new sale being placed every 62 seconds. And this year it is expected to be bigger than ever.

While the predicted revenue from Black Friday sales continues to grow, more and more consumers are turning to Cyber Monday to stock up for the holidays. The day’s popularity is due in part to the ease of shopping online and the desire to avoid the ugly side of Black Friday: the crowds.

Yet some experts say it encourages a game of chicken between the retailer and the customer. As big sales become ever more popular, customers buy less during the rest of the year and wait, knowing that shops will eventually slash prices for fear of losing out to a competitor.

As an “antithesis” to the sales, many people are now observing Buy Nothing Day, which encourages people to forgo shopping on Black Friday, and charities have started promoting Giving Tuesday as an alternative to gift-giving.

So should we feel guilty about spending so much?

Shop 'til you drop?

Absolutely, some say. Not only does Cyber Monday reveal society at its most shallow, but consumers rarely save money or make rational purchases. These sales are, in the words of one economist, nothing more than a depressing “experiment in consumer irrationality”.

But others say the frenzied holiday shopping period is vital for boosting the economy, and a good indicator of its health. Shoppers are the main winners on Cyber Monday anyway: They grab a good deal while retailers lose out as a result of reduced profit margins. There is nothing wrong with being a savvy shopper.

You Decide

  1. Will you look for a bargain on Cyber Monday? Why, or why not?
  2. Do sales like these bring out the worst in people, or the best?

Activities

  1. Write a humorous guide explaining the holiday shopping season. What is it like, and how can people survive it?
  2. Maths challenges: (1) If shoppers spend £1 billion online in one day, how much will they spend in an hour? (2) If a television set worth £739.00 goes on sale with a 70% discount, what is its new price?

Some People Say...

“The things you own end up owning you.”

Tyler Durden — “Fight Club”

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
It has been predicted that this year shoppers will spend more than ever during the four-days that run from Black Friday to Cyber Monday. According to Adobe Digital Insights, which publishes digital marketing research online, more than 90% of retailers offer online Cyber Monday deals, with many connecting with their customers through social media. We also know many retailers rely on these sales to boost their profits for the year.
What do we not know?
Whether these spending trends will continue. Campaigns like Giving Tuesday, Small Business Saturday and Buy Nothing Day are trying to encourage people to spend less on consumer goods, especially from large retailers, and to instead support local small businesses and donate to charities. Or to not spend money at all.

Word Watch

Black Friday
Some say Black Friday takes its name from retailers’ accounts, which go from being in the red (in debit) into the black (in credit), thanks to the spending spree. Others say it was coined by US law enforcement officials, wary of the chaos the day brings.
Some estimates
Adobe Digital Insights predicts that online holiday sales (November to December) in the USA will reach $107.4 billion, which is a 13.8% increase over last year.
£8 billion
According to the Centre for Retail Research and online voucher marketplace VoucherCodes.
The crowds
In the past, people have been seriously injured and even killed in shop stampedes. According to the Black Friday Death Count website, there have been ten deaths and 110 injuries related to Black Friday in the USA since 2006. Some victims have been trampled, shot and stabbed; others have died in car accidents.
Giving Tuesday
Started in 2012, Giving Tuesday encourages individuals to give back to their communities and local charities. See the link in Become An Expert to find out more.

Subjects

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