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The holidays are upon us, and with that comes the rampant sales and frenzied shopping that is now associated with the season. No two days are more frenzied than Black Friday and its counterpart, Cyber Monday.
This year when the sales numbers were released it was shocking, because 2012 was the first year that Black Friday sales were over one billion dollars
. While many people were standing impatiently for the doors to open at their favorite store, many others were waiting patiently online in order to be part of the largest increase in online retail sales ever. Most of these transactions were made on mobile devices or tablets. This brings up the question: How is technology influencing the two most lucrative shopping holidays of the year?
On Black Friday 57 million
Americans visited an online retail store, up 18 percent from 2011. The retailers that profited the most from these visits were Amazon, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Target and Apple. The primary reason for this increase was due to the development of mobile and tablet apps that allow consumers to shop online just by touching a few buttons. This also allows the consumer to enjoy being at home with family and friends, avoid the crowds and get the same deals that are available at the store. Purchases made on mobile devices or tablets reached 48.2 percent
of the total online purchases on Black Friday.
With the success of Black Friday analysts were expecting Cyber Monday to perform even better. While Cyber Monday set a new record for the biggest online shopping day ever, it paled in comparison to Black Friday’s overall income. On this day it wasn’t consumers using technology to make their purchases that was so outstanding, it was the consumers purchasing technology. According to AdAge
, tablets accounted for 7.1 percent of all Cyber Monday purchases with Apple’s iPad line accounting for 90.5 percent of all tablets purchased.
The days of consumers running out at midnight to be first in line at the stores are coming to an end. Retailers are being forced to develop strategies that deliver the same messages as an in-store display without the added benefit of having the face-- to-- face contact with the consumer. A major reason retailers cut prices on Black Friday is to get people into the store in the hopes of them purchasing higher priced items, which are often-times are not on sale. When a consumer purchases an item online it becomes easier for them to avoid the impulse buying the stores are hoping to see. The challenge that retailers are facing is developing the same impact in-store and on their websites. This year shows that a new era of ease and access is inundating the holiday shopping season. With the largest profits ever recorded in history, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales were driven by technology, whether it is by using it or purchasing it. If Black Friday was any indication of what the retailers have in store for consumers then look forward to more great deals in the future.