Dec. 02--Black Friday passed. So did Small Business Saturday. Today is the next commercial holiday of the season: Cyber Monday, when national retailers offer online discounts akin to the "door busters" of Black Friday.
The national projections are rosy, with retail analysts forecasting more than $2 billion in online sales. Yet it is mainly the giant retailers who own the day, and there will likely be a "modest dampening effect" on the local retail industry because most purchases are from remote locations elsewhere, according to local economist Ray Perryman, who still has forecast a brisk Christmas sales season because of the booming economy.
The first Cyber Monday was in 2005. The name had been coined by the ecommerce community -- specifically, in a Shop.com press release touting high internet traffic during the week after Thanksgiving.
Even though the first Cyber Monday was not the top online sales day of that year, the commercial holiday became a self-fulfilling prophesy. It also drew the attention of Perryman and other economists wondering whether there would be a shift to the shopping paradigm, threatening the far-older Black Friday.
"It is less of a phenomenon that it once was," Perryman said in an email. "When people first began to talk about it, the idea was that you came to work after Thanksgiving and began your online Christmas ordering on your work computer. Today, most people have access to a connected device . . . virtually all of the time and tend to spread out their shopping more.
But then there are still the forecasts of a two billion dollar day and, for that matter, the projections from the research firm comScore that this year's Cyber Monday will still be the biggest online shopping day of the year for the fourth year in a row. Experts point to the publicity efforts since 2010, the compressed calendar this year creating urgency with an uncommonly short stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and of course the deals.
The firm comScore projected a 20 percent growth rate from 2012, with a majority of that growth happening in mobile purchases, whether on a tablet or cell phone. Shop.org released a 2013 online holiday sales forecast that expected sales in November and December to increase by up to 15 percent more than last holiday season to as much as $82 billion.
The major Cyber Monday players include companies such as Amazon.com, Sears and Target. Goods range from washing machines to video game systems and clothing.
The travel industry, including companies such as Priceline.com and American Express Travel, was also scheduled to offer Cyber Monday deals.
Conversely, local travel agent Nell Baldwin said the holiday season is typically her slowest and that online sales generally cut out the local travel agents' commission.
But some locals are still hoping for a Cyber Monday boon, such as the Midland-based Inside Chrystal Images. Owner Mike Garza said he had hoped to launch a website for the new company ahead of Cyber Monday that year but missed the shopping holiday. The company sells engraved crystals containing 3-D photographs.
Now, Garza said the website is in order and comprises about 20 percent of the sales even as the company has forced to scale back its kiosks, including one in Music City Mall. The plan today is to offer about 25 percent off of retail value. Deals will last through the week.
"We'll see how it works, man," Garza said. "I'm thinking we'll get a good reception on it."
Contact Corey Paul on Twitter @OAcrime on Facebook at OA Corey Paul or call 432-333-7768.
(c)2013 the Odessa American (Odessa, Texas)
Visit the Odessa American (Odessa, Texas) at www.oaoa.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
Original headline: Cyber Monday expected to be biggest ever
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