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No More Cyber Monday? Discount Days May Be Over, New Data Says

"The urgency around those days is being minimized," Vivek Pandya, lead analyst for Adobe Digital Insights, told TheStreet.

The days of lining up outside Best Buy  (BBY) - Get Best Buy Co., Inc. Report or waiting for the clock to hit 12:01 a.m. for an online Sephora  (LVMH)  sale may finally be coming to an end.

The final 2021 Adobe Analytics  (ADBE) - Get Adobe Inc. Report holiday shopping numbers show that people are shopping more but not necessarily during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

According to the analytics report released on Wednesday, shoppers spent a total of $204.5 billion this past holiday season. Up 8.6% from last year, there were also a record number of days when sales exceeded $3 billion — 38 compared to last year's 25.

But while sales in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving grew by 19.2%, sales in the week between Black Friday and Cyber Monday fell by 1.4% year over year.

Vivek Pandya, lead analyst for Adobe Digital Insights, told TheStreet that this year's numbers came about from a convergence of factors. 

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While pandemic-related supply chain disruptions left some retailers with fewer items to sell. They were also less motivated to mark them down, since items sell fast and out-of-stock messages rose by 253% from 2019, and retail is also generally moving toward periods of extended sales.

"The urgency around those days is being minimized because [consumers] are already getting exposure to those discounts much earlier," Pandya told TheStreet. "On top of that, the discounts were much weaker this year."

The average retailer cut electronics prices by 8% compared to last year's 21%, while home appliances were discounted by 4% compared to last year's 14%. Sporting goods were also cut by 6% instead of the 14% seen in 2020.

Other changes this year were strong demand for curbside pickup and Buy-Now-Pay-Later programs. Along with longer discount periods, these are shopping trends that began as a result of the pandemic but now settled firmly as consumer habits.

"These different behaviors are locking in as a result of the forcing function of the pandemic," Padya said. "We're now in this space where we have this strong level of growth that is built on a massive leap forward."