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Black Friday used to be a day of excessive shopping and deals for retailers taking advantage of consumers with Thanksgiving vacation time. But as the online and offline worlds merge, the distinction between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is quickly disappearing.

Retailers are stepping up their online offers for the weekend, but those who wait until Cyber Monday to lure customers are going to miss out on large returns.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are seen as opportunity for retailers to fix lagging sales numbers and lure early holiday shoppers, but as retailers jump the gun on holiday deals, it can get harder to see the impact of set shopping days.

Simon Dumenco at AdAge writes:

"This year, marketers have particularly diluted the meaning of Black Friday, given all the pre-Black Friday, and "better-than-Black-Friday" deals they've been plugging ad nauseam."

And yet, many consumers still organize their shopping around the date of Thanksgiving. Barclays Capital analyst Robert Drbul tells the Wall Street Journal that this weekend can be expected to generate 10% of total holiday season sales:

"It's hard to play catch-up. A lot of what you are seeing (in terms of store promotions) is surgical and tactical. It's well-planned."

That said, the concept of Black Friday is more concrete than Cyber Monday.  U.S. consumers flock to stores on Black Friday because they have the day off and often spend that time shopping. But as online and offline shopping merge, they don't have to wait until Monday to go to the office and use the internet.

Dumenco notes that Cyber Monday mentions on Twitter are a fraction of those for Black Friday:

Black Friday has been subsuming Cyber Monday for a while. ComScore reported last year that traffic to online retailers was up 98% over 2007's Black Friday, and getting consumers out shopping during the entire weekend is much more important than arbitrarily pushing them toward deals targeted to next Monday.

Survey research from Google and OTX found that 32% of consumers plan to do most of their shopping during Thanksgiving weekend. Google found that searches for "Black Friday deals" started around two weeks earlier than last year. According to PayPal, its first major spike in online-payment volume occurred 16 November.

Meanwhile, price wars have broken it out weeks ahead and retailers like Amazon began Black Friday deals early this week.

"Web (retailers) have woken up," Fiona Dias, executive vice president of strategy and marketing for GSI Commerce, tells the Wall Street Journal. "What Amazon.com has realized is that if they wait till Monday, consumers will be broke...For online retailers to wait until Cyber Monday, they are going to be out of the game."

Images: top, Shoes.com. middle, AdAge, Trendrr.

Meghan Keane

Published 25 November, 2009 by Meghan Keane

Based in New York, Meghan Keane is US Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter: @keanesian.

721 more posts from this author

Comments (3)



Black Friday will be gray this year. Nobody has any money! Once again American's are ramping up to get into more debt, buying things we can't afford. Isn't it bad enough that all of our homes and cars have been repossessed (see: http://www.repofinder.com)? I just hope we haven't forgotten what Christmas is all about

almost 7 years ago



Interesting article!  I also see the blur between Black Friday and Cyber Monday...  in this economy the deals just seem to be rolling in no matter what the day or what they call the sale.  I'll admit, I love the sales though!  I love the blur of the "shopping holidays".  And I never ever shop online, or in store for that matter, without first checking out Dealio.com.  This time of year they have complete lists of Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales and they are constantly updated.  They also list some sales in advance, for example in a few days Macy's will be having their Friends and Family sale and it seems some of those deals will outweigh the deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday...  I plan on waiting until then to purchase a Citizen Eco-Drive watch for my husband because it will be 25% off PLUS an additional 25% off!  (here is a link to the BIG Macy's sale:http://www.dealio.com/stores/Macys-coupons/22771/?did=150352) Seems like the entire holiday season is rolled into one big Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale these days... and that's ok by this shopper!  

almost 7 years ago



This articles comes at very interesting times this year. Of course its the time of year where Black Friday has passed and the Cyber Monday Sales kicks off the 2nd official day of the holiday season. A year that has had unemployment rates increase and shown consumer confidence decrease, there still has to be some deals out there. One industry that has produced those deals is that of the wine industry.

Gary's wine and marketplace has such deals on their website and its real simple to access. Just go to http://garyswine.com/ and you can see nationally reviewed wines along with accessories and spirits. Through their Web store on Monday, November 30th some of the hottest Cyber Monday Deals around will be on display. The kickoff to the Bordeaux Sale begins the next day and goes from Dec. 1- 6.

almost 7 years ago

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