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Analysts: Cyber Monday To Bring Record Sales, But Times Are Changing

November 26, 2018 - 1:01 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – This Cyber Monday is set to be the biggest U.S. online shopping day in history, with the holiday expected to generate a record number of sales.

But analysts say the lines between Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the rest of the holiday shopping season are increasingly starting to blur in the age of smartphones – this has led to retailers ramping up their discounts to lure in customers.

Cyber Monday originally began back when everyone had lousy dial-up connections at home, according to Crain’s columnist Greg David.

“The only way to really shop was wait ‘til you get to work, where there was much better online access,” he said.

Now that shoppers can easily access online deals from their phones at any time, retailers have had to step up their game and offer even better sales on more and more items.

It appears to be working.

This Cyber Monday alone, retailers are expected to generate $7.8 billion in sales – a 17 percent increase from a year ago.

“Of course, that’s a record,” David said.

Black Friday wasn’t quite as much of a bang, with in-store sales down anywhere from 1 to 5 percent, according to David.

But most of those stores have an online presence and forecasts are expecting an increase of 4.5 to 5 percent in sales year over year. That’s buoyed by a 25 percent increase in Black Friday online sales from a year ago.

Some of the retailers who are struggling are offering especially great deals; for example, Gap is offering 50 percent off every item and Kohl’s is giving 20 percent off all items.

David says it’s great for consumers but problematic for stores.

“These deep discounts are hurting the bottom line, and they’ve got to be very careful of increasing sales but not falling into the red,” David said.

CBS News business analyst Jill Schlesinger also says retailers are facing pressure to lure shoppers in an expanding holiday shopping season.

But she says the Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend is also going to become less and less important in future years.

“The holiday season is stretching out a bit and so is the idea of getting people into a physical store on a particular day. It really is incumbent on these retailers to bring us in throughout the holiday season, not just on Black Friday,” Schlesinger said.