Today is “Cyber Monday” the Internet enabled, 21st Century equivalent to the post-Thanksgiving, dirt-world doorbusting shopping spree known as “Black Friday”. The term black Friday, coined by retailers to describe the day after Thanksgiving, was so named because the deep discounts and sales they offered were supposed to draw enough consumers to the stores to enable retailers to recoup their investments into holiday inventory. This tsunami of Holiday season shopping was supposed to put the retailers’ balance sheets into “the black” or positive territory. With the rise of e-commerce, there is now a second wave of shopping that begins (unfortunately for employers) on the Monday after Thanksgiving when many return to the office to “work” (read: shop online on the company’s time). Online retailers put out their most attractive online sale prices of the year for Cyber Monday. But in this poor economic environment, are people buying? Are you? Follow me below the fold…
Early reports from dirt-world retailers seem to indicate that sales have been strong over this first weekend of Holiday 2009 which is a welcome respite from last year’s horrible sales season. Online retailers are holding their collective breath waiting to see if shoppers spend with the same fervor as they did in the brick and mortar stores on Black Friday.
I for one believe that the overall holiday sales volumes for retailers will be nearly as miserable as they were last year. To my way of thinking, it would seem that Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales will be especially well trafficked this year because people really NEED the deep discounts these sales offer if they are going to be able to buy any gifts at all. With real unemployment above 15%, I don’t think Americans have too much dough left to spend on non-essentials. Its just that we’re so conditioned to consume at the holidays, it is hard for people to break the holiday consumption habit. But I suspect as the next weeks march on, the volume of sales will wither to a trickle. Once the early, deepest discounted sales of Black Friday and Cyber Monday have depleted the stores’ stocks of loss leaders and “doorbuster” prices, I imagine the regularly priced goods will not be moving at such an impressive pace. IMHO, this will lead to another brutally poor year for retailers. I know, we are spending far less this year as a family.
How about you? Are you planning to spend more than last year? Less than last year? About the same as last year? Or not at all? Sound off in the comments.