Cy­ber Mon­day flexes mus­cles, chang­ing ways dis­counts are be­ing of­fered

Orlando Sentinel - - BUSINESS - By Abha Bhat­tarai

WASH­ING­TON — Casey Scott re­fuses to shop on Black Fri­day and, he says, there’s no dis­count deep enough to change his mind.

In­stead, he’s hold­ing out for his fa­vorite shop­ping hol­i­day: Cy­ber Mon­day, when he plans to log on to his com­puter as soon as he wakes up. If all goes well, he says, he’ll knock out a few dozen gifts — for his wife and their seven chil­dren — by lunchtime.

“The last thing I want to do is wake up and shop the day after Thanks­giv­ing,” said Scott, 43, the lead pas­tor at Chapel Rock Chris­tian Church in In­di­anapo­lis. “The deals will still be there on Mon­day, and they might even be bet­ter.”

Scott is among a grow­ing num­ber of Amer­i­cans who are shun­ning Black Fri­day in fa­vor of its on­line coun­ter­part, part of the broader move away from brickand-mor­tar re­tail. For the first time, the ma­jor­ity of U.S. con­sumers — 54% — say they will do most of their hol­i­day shop­ping on­line, ac­cord­ing to data from Price­wa­ter­house­Coop­ers, a pro­fes­sional ser­vices firm.

That shift is caus­ing some re­tail­ers to re­think their ap­proach to the hol­i­day shop­ping sea­son as they work out how, and when, to of­fer the best deals. While many brands lock in their Black Fri­day plans months in ad­vance — and com­mit to print ads and tele­vi­sion spots pro­mot­ing their pre­de­ter­mined door­buster deals — Cy­ber Mon­day has be­come a game of fluid de­ci­sions and fast-chang­ing strate­gies.

“Back in the day, ev­ery re­tail ex­ec­u­tive had a sin­gu­lar fo­cus: Black Fri­day,” said Sam Ya­gan, chief ex­ec­u­tive of ShopRun­ner, an e-com­merce de­liv­ery ser­vice for re­tail­ers such as Neiman Mar­cus and Ann Tay­lor. “Now re­tail­ers are set­ting up war rooms where they’re watch­ing real-time re­ac­tions and re­act­ing ac­cord­ingly. It’s be­com­ing a lot more dy­namic.”

Cy­ber Mon­day, he said, of­fers re­tail­ers more flex­i­bil­ity in that they can quickly change prices or in­tro­duce flash sales hour-by-hour, de­pend­ing on con­sumer be­hav­ior. The day is also in­creas­ingly im­por­tant for com­pa­nies’ bot­tom lines: Amer­i­cans spent a record $7.9 bil­lion last year, more than dou­ble the $3.4 bil­lion they spent on Cy­ber Mon­day 2016, ac­cord­ing to Adobe An­a­lyt­ics. This year’s fore­cast is $9.4 bil­lion, nearly 20% higher than 2018.

Mean­while, the num­ber of peo­ple shop­ping on Black Fri­day, whether in stores or on­line, is slip­ping. An es­ti­mated 36% of con­sumers plan to shop the day after Thanks­giv­ing this year, down from 51% in 2016, ac­cord­ing to a PwC re­port that deems Black Fri­day “more sym­bolic than sig­nif­i­cant.”

“The hol­i­day sea­son has moved for­ward so that Black Fri­day is no longer one event but a se­ries of events,” said Steve Barr, U.S. con­sumer mar­kets leader at PwC. “Black Fri­day is no longer the day it used to be.”

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