Cyber Monday is looking a lot like Groundhog Day.
Online shopping and unprecedented discounts already have made Black Friday one for the record books this year as consumers have chosen to crack open their laptops and virtual wallets amid the worst global pandemic in more than a century.
Now Cyber Monday is on track to bring in a record $12.7 billion in online sales, according to Adobe Analytics, surpassing Black Friday's digital numbers as U.S. retailers reach the final leg of an extended start to the holiday selling season caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
With sales projected to increase by 35% from the same day last year, according to Adobe data, the question is what more both consumers and retailers can expect to gain from yet another day of 30%, 40% and even 50% off, with free shipping?
"Last year, just as many consumers shopped online on Black Friday as on Cyber Monday," National Retail Federation spokesman Craig Shearman told Reuters. "This year, with the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, retailers are ensuring that consumers have the opportunity to safely find great deals however they choose to shop."
Originally meant to encourage shoppers to buy goods online, Cyber Monday was created as a marketing ploy to get shoppers to buy online. However, the emergence of online shopping and cheap deals throughout the year from retailers including Amazon (AMZN) - Get Report and Walmart (WMT) - Get Report, and tech giant Apple (AAPL) - Get Report, already had blurred the lines between Black Friday and Cyber Monday long before the pandemic.
The Covid-19 pandemic and accompanying shutdowns in various parts of the country coupled with pleas for Americans to avoid large crowds and stay at home has accelerated that trend, according to both retailers and analysts - something that will likely alter shopping patterns long after the health crisis has passed.
That has shifted what traditionally has been a kick-off steep discounts online and another big day of promotions. Indeed, this Cyber Monday is looking more like Groundhog Day following nearly two months of offers from retailers looking to recover sales lost due to mall and store closures and cautious consumer spending.
"We are seeing strong growth as consumers continue to move shopping from offline to online this year," said Adobe Digital Insights Director Taylor Schreiner. "New consoles, phones, smart devices and TVs that are traditional Black Friday purchases are sharing online shopping cart space this year with unorthodox Black Friday purchases such as groceries, clothes and alcohol, that would previously have been purchased in-store."
From Gap (GPS) - Get Report to Kohl's (KSS) - Get Report to Nordstrom (JWN) - Get Report to Target (TGT) - Get Report and Home Depot (HD) - Get Report, retailers have not only encouraged shoppers to go online to find pre-Christmas deals, they have pulled out all the stops in an attempt to recover the original, true meaning of Black Friday: to get their balance sheets back in the black.
“When thinking about Black Friday, it is important to note that over the past several years, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have evolved into a full five-day shopping event across both stores and online," said NRF's Shearman.
“Although this year’s event looks different, our commitment to what our customers depend on us for – the absolute best prices of the season on hot gifts from top brands – hasn’t changed,” Scott McCall, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer for Walmart U.S., said in a statement.
“We’ve been very thoughtful as we planned this year’s event. By spreading deals out across multiple days and making our hottest deals available online. We expect the Black Friday experience in our stores will be safer and more manageable for both our customers and our associates.”