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Monday Musings: Is Cyber Monday Really Necessary? Is it Even Relevant?

November 26, 2012 By Brian Howard and James Sturdivant

Perhaps you've noticed, if you've spent any time on the Interwebs today, that it's Cyber Monday! Much of the hullaballoo is about the great deals you can get by clicking "buy" right now, but some of it is of the handwringing variety, wondering, essentially, "does Cyber Monday make sense anymore?"

Cyber Monday, e-tail's answer to retail's Black Friday, came into being when office workers, returning from long, gluttonous, tryptophan benders, began taking advantage of their companies' high-speed Internet connections to fulfill their one-click holiday shopping needs (and, just perhaps, to put off dealing with the gajillion email messages that flooded their inboxes over the holiday).

Of course, now that many of us have high-speed Internet on our person at all times—and on three or more of our four screens—the enabling quality of the company T1 line has been diminished. As Business Insider's Owen Thomas notes, "that scenario posited that a desktop PC with a broadband connection was the best way to shop. And the fast-moving tech world has upended those assumptions.

And on Mashable, in a piece titled, "Is Cyber Monday Losing Its Luster?" Lauren Indvik points out that the rise of multi-channel shopping is making the Monday aspect sort of moot, as online shoppers are being tempted with offers before, and even as they enter, their turkey comas:

Many multi-channel and pure-play online retailers now run promotions on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, as well as Cyber Monday. Some have pushed the envelope even further: For the past few years, Amazon has opened its so-called 'Black Friday' store of discounted products weeks before the actual event.

It's funny to think that in just a few short years, Cyber Monday, which sounded so modern and techy at the time, is already kind of quaint.

Brian Howard

I'm also beginning to wonder whether we need a Cyber Monday, given that online shopping has become part and parcel (pun intended) of the retail experience for most Americans.

According to comScore, on Thanksgiving Day, online sales rose 32 percent over last year, to $633 million. On Black Friday, they were up 26 percent from 2011, to $1.042 billion—the first time online sales on Black Friday exceeded $1 billion. I'm not sure we need a "Cyber Monday" to remind people that they can get that shirt online, but it is a nice way for Amazon to be able to draw more attention to itself. I'm thinking we should start a Buy NFL Merchandise Day, to shine light on another entity that desperately needs a profile boost.


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