By GALINA BELLO
Thanksgiving is no longer a holiday that stands by itself. Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season celebrated by consumers and retailers, a day dedicated to massive sales and discounts called Black Friday. However, since 2005, Black Friday has been challenged by a new shopping holiday called Cyber Monday. Many are convinced that Cyber Monday is preferable to Black Friday and will take over in the future.
Cyber Monday saves shoppers a lot of time. On Black Friday, shoppers choose to wake up early in the morning in order to maximize the number of products and deals they will have access to in stores. Because of the mad rush of like-minded shoppers, time must be set aside to account for traffic, finding a parking spot, locating items (which may or may not be misplaced by other shoppers) and waiting in massive check-out lines.
All of this takes shoppers and employees away from spending time with their families during the Thanksgiving weekend. But by participating in Cyber Monday, shoppers can purchase items at any time during the day and quickly find items they want by using a search bar. There is no pressure on employees to check out customers in a short amount of time, and there is no need for consumers to worry about their desired products selling out before they arrive to the store. Although websites do crash and slow down, the overall process of online shopping takes up less time than going out to stores.
Plus, Cyber Monday saves the consumer money. When you are in a store on Black Friday, there is no way to tell if the deal you have in your hands is truly the best one. When you shop online, it’s easy to compare prices. Sites such as cybermonday.com even make it easy by finding the deals for you. And while online shopping does sometimes result in shipping charges, some sites o er free shipping as part of their deals, and because online shopping is convenient, it may be worth the extra money for shipping.
The biggest reason why Cyber Monday is preferable to Black Friday shopping is that there is no violence. When Black Friday appears in the news, it is often due to reports of violence or injuries that have occurred. Blackfridaydeathcount.com is a website dedicated to tracking these incidents. The site reports that 10 people have died and 105 have been injured in Black Friday incidents since 2006. Cyber Monday offers consumers a civilized shopping experience from the safety of home or work.
Despite this, Black Friday does have some benefits over Cyber Monday. For some, it may be a family tradition to go out shopping after Thanksgiving. Cyber Monday occurs on a work day, so it is not a physical experience that can be shared by families.
In addition, online shopping can sometimes be a gamble. When you purchase an item online, the item shipped to you may not match what you purchased. With Black Friday shopping, you get to try on clothes and inspect items for damage. There is a lower chance of having to return an item you physically bought on Black Friday than one you blindly ordered online. Another added bonus is that Black Friday shoppers do not have to wait for their goods to arrive.
However, these negatives will not stop Cyber Monday from overtaking Black Friday. Proof of Cyber Monday’s increase in popularity lies in many companies’ decisions to now o er Black Friday sales online, instead of just in stores.
Online shopping is taking over, and it’s undeniable that it is a contributor to the current decline of malls and department stores. In July, Time Magazine estimated that by 2022, “one out of every four malls in the U.S. could be out of business.”
Stores like Sears and K-Mart have already closed hundreds of outlets, and plan to close even more starting in January, according to ABC News.
But this is not all bad news for shoppers who intend to find deals this upcoming holiday season. Sears and K-Mart have already started sales this month as a way to boost their businesses. CNBC claims that shoppers at these stores will have access to discounts ranging from 10-40 percent o items all month long, so they don’t have to wait for Black Friday or Cyber Monday to arrive.