This year, retailers everywhere seemed to be adding yet another big day of purchases with Black Thursday, the latest addition to the Black Friday/Cyber Monday cluster of holiday shopping days.
This development in shopping – the wide-scale opening of brick-and-mortar stores at a time when they’re traditionally dark – underscores the significance of this important time for holiday gift purchases. Kmart, for example, has so embraced the concept that its stores let shoppers in at 6 a.m. Thanksgiving Day and remained open for 41 straight hours.
Thanksgiving and Black Friday this year combined to generate an estimated $12.3 billion in sales, according to shopping analytics firm ShopperTrak. Expanded hours and the increased promotion of Thanksgiving Day as an alternative to Black Friday seemed to work as Turkey Day traffic grew 27 percent, according to the National Retail Federation. Overall spending for the weekend is expected to reach an estimated $57.4 billion, a slight drop from $59.1 billion last year. But as of Monday December 2, a survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics found that more than 131 million shoppers plan to go online for Cyber Monday, up from the 129 million in 2012.
“We expect Cyber Monday to be bigger than ever,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.
The final figures for this year are not yet in, but all signs indicate that it will be among the biggest Black Thursday/Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping weekends ever. Market research company Forrester predicts that a record $78.7 billion will be spent in U.S. in online shopping this holiday season – up 15 percent from last year. It won’t be long before online shopping becomes the dominant way for consumers to buy winter holiday gifts.
What makes this an exciting time in gifting is not that we can now hit the stores at times once reserved for the morning paper boy; it’s that as purchasing holiday gifts online becomes more common, the industry is responding with innovations to address the problems associated with gifting. And in the process, new ways to upsell, cross sell, and meet the omni-channel needs of customers are proving that online business is indeed good business, any day of the week.
Although shopping habits have changed and even institutions such as Thanksgiving are now part of the holiday gift-buying fray, plenty of obstacles remain, whether in-store or online. Getting the right gift to a recipient, and addressing such unanswered questions about style preference, size and mailing address, are among the ongoing snags in gifting – but even these gifting nuts are finally getting cracked with the latest online shopping breakthroughs.
– Roy Erez, Co-Founder and CEO, Loop Commerce