Dian's Column
Dian's Archive


Don't see many shoppers carrying bags? Not to worry as online shopping is bigger than ever

By Dian Vujovich

Just because mall parking lots aren’t overflowing with cars these days, or Worth Avenue isn’t packed with shoppers carrying bags from Neiman’s, Saks or smaller retail shops like Marley’s, doesn’t mean no one is buying. More than likely that lack of foot traffic is because today’s shoppers have taken to online and smartphone shopping like ducks to water.

Numbers from Cyber Monday sales last month were up 33 percent over last year’s figures, according to IBM Benchmark. That makes 2011 the biggest online spending day in history.

Okay, the history is not all that long. In fact, Cyber Monday has only been around for six years. The first was in 2005. And, if you believe Wikipedia, was created by the National Retail Federation in an effort for retailers to get their hands on some of the green from shoppers who, when they returned to their work computer terminals on Monday, still had that zest for holiday shopping in their blood.

Here’s a bit about all that not-in-person spending, according to a Fast Facts: Holiday Electronic Shopping report from the Financial Services Roundtable:

• Nearly 40 percent of all sales made were made online during the 4-day Thanksgiving through Monday shopping spree.

• Shopping via mobile phones increased by 400 percent, according to The National Retail Federation. The number of shoppers who said that they would use their mobile device to shop increased from 3.6 million in 2009 to 17.8 million in 2011. (No figures yet on how many people actually did use their phones to purchase items, though.)

• Of course, debit or credit cards are the most popular ways to purchase gifts online. That said, the National Retail Federation reported 44 percent of shoppers would use debit cards.

If you’re thinking that Cyber Monday must be a throw-away day for employers with employees preferring to shop rather than work, IBM Benchmark reported that most of the heavy holiday online shopping took place before or after working hours.

To read more articles, please visit the column archive.

[ top ]