“Black Friday” got its start here in the United States when retail stores noticed a huge increase in customers the day after Thanksgiving when they needed to start shopping for holiday gifts. There is some debate over the exact origin of the term; Wikipedia and other sites argue the term either originated with businesses in Philidephia or is simply a reflection that retailers have great sales figures on that day and generate a substantial profit, or are “in the black.”
The origin of “Cyber Monday” is much easier to nail down. The term was first used in 2008 when online retailers noticed a regular spike in internet sales here in the U.S. when people returned to work the Monday after Thanksgiving. There were two reasons for that increase in sales:
First, most people went to retail stores over the weekend following Thanksgiving and did the majority of their holiday shopping. If they didn’t find a good deal in stores (or it was sold out) they would just buy it online on Monday.
Second, high-speed internet access used to be more common in businesses than in the average household. Why waste time on slow internet at home when you can use your employer’s high-speed internet access?
This brings us to the reasons why Cyber Monday may soon be a thing of the past despite the fact that consumers are estimated to spend $1.5 billion today. The simple reality is that consumers are changing the way they shop. Not only are we becoming increasingly comfortable buying things online, but we aren’t waiting until we get into the office on Monday to make those purchases. U.S. consumers spent a record $1.042 billion online on Black Friday this year, a 26 percent increase over the same day last year, according to new figures from comScore. IBM also found that 24 percent of online shoppers used mobile devices, compared to 14.3 percent in 2011. The iPad was used by 88.3 percent of tablet shoppers.
In short, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are increasingly turning into “Black November” or maybe just “Black Holidays.”
This isn’t a bad thing for consumers or businesses. In fact, when most sales happen on a single day then the stores and the consumers are huge targets for criminal activity on that day. Federal officials recently teamed up with European law enforcement agencies to shut down over 130 websites hawking illegal counterfeit items on the internet. Project “Cyber Monday 3” is the third year in a row that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has partnered with EUROPOL to shut down the websites selling counterfeit goods for the holidays. This weekend law enforcement agencies took down the 101 websites on U.S. internet servers and 31 websites with European domain names.
What are your thoughts on shopping for PCs and accessories during the holidays? Let us know in the Discussion Forum!