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Cyber Monday Will Set All-Time Records

11/26/2012

There’s near universal consensus that total online sales on Cyber Monday 2012 will blow away previous records.

This is so even as expectations for Black Friday have been modest. According to the National Retail Federation 147 million consumers were likely to have gone shopping at some point over the past weekend, a decrease from the estimate of 152 million shoppers last year.

With Black Friday sales essentially flat, at least partially because consumers have greatly expanded their holiday shopping window and no single day is as important as it used to be, shouldn’t Cyber Monday’s sales be flat as well?

It doesn’t appear to be the case. Here’s why:

Online shopping, across all devices/mediums, is growing in a big way. The category of “nonstore sales,” which includes purchases made by catalog, interactive TV, mobile, and, most importantly, plain old online shopping, is expected to boast sales growth of 15% to 17% over the 2012 holidays.

Shoppers just spent the last week “showrooming.” While millions hit the shopping malls over this past weekend, as well as the days leading up to Thanksgiving, many were just browsing—scoping out goods that they’re likely to buy online for a cheaper price. And “showrooming” in stores is growing increasingly common: 1 in 5 shoppers engages in showrooming, 33% say that when they consult smartphones in stores they wind up purchasing merchandise elsewhere, and 96% of smartphone owners say they plan on using their devices for these purposes in the future.

Online deals may be even better than in-store. Toys and other goods are likely to be cheaper the week after Thanksgiving; sites such as dealnews also advise against buying brand-name TVs, jewelry, and winter apparel on Black Friday—because cheaper prices are all but guaranteed to appear later on in the season.

With 2012 projecting to drive record sales it’s likely Cyber Monday is just the beginning.

My only advice in getting the best deals? Keep your smartphone charged and “showroom” every purchase – unless you need it immediately.

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