As ravenous throngs of savings-hungry Americans hit stores the Friday after Thanksgiving, many will be comfortable waiting for what they say is a better way to shop: Cyber Monday.
Started by Shop.com in 2005, Cyber Monday is the annual e-based alternative to Black Friday. Retailers noticed a spike in online shopping as people returned to work from the Thanksgiving weekend, and conspired to capitalize on the trend.
Hundreds of online retailers now participate and shoppers say the saving are comparable, if not better than what’s offered in retail locations.
Consumers spent over a billion dollars on Cyber Monday last year. It pales in comparison to the $45 billion Americans spent in-store last year, but it was a 20 percent increase for the Monday sales event, which has increased exponentially since its inception.
Websites like CyberMonday.com are loading up savings so consumers can shop for myriad items through one portal. The main advantage of e-shopping, particularly during sales events, is the ability to compare prices quickly and comprehensively, experts say. That, and the bevy of reviews instantly available for any product.
Many companies will offer free shipping on Cyber Monday and through the weekend, thus negating a common deterrent in online shopping.
And the Internet will never run out of this year’s Furby or Tickle-Me-Elmo either.
Already advertised are savings of 10 to 15 percent at Sears.com and Target.com on select items, up to 70 percent off at select boutiques, widespread saving at K-mart’s and Walmart’s sites and the event won’t occur for another two weeks – deals are sure to be announced (and advertised heavily) in the coming weeks.
Retailers may advertise online savings in-store to help reduce crowds and advertise sales.
As the event gains popularity, some are saying Cyber Weekend may be the sale of the future.
Ken Wisnefski, CEO of WebiMax announced the inauguration of Cyber Weekend earlier this week.
"Given the statistics and interacting with representatives of major online retailers, I expect Cyber Monday to be a part of the past while 'Cyber Weekend' is the more appropriate term,” Wisnefski told the San Francisco Chronicle. “Furthermore, 2011 is set to be one of the most successful online buying years that we have ever seen."
Parcel shipping service UPS is hiring 50,000 drivers this year for the season. That number is down from last year’s 60,000 but retailers blame the poor economy – not the interest in online shopping – for the decline.
As some retailers take extreme measures, midnight openings, and price-matching programs, consumers may yet be tempted to hit the stores. Likely is the case that shoppers participate in both retail and online shopping.