Data in everyday life: Online sales – Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday

Drew LeisenFollowing a day of family, football, and food, many Americans shrug off their turkey-induced comas to prepare for America’s second favorite pastime – Christmas shopping! Some shoppers avoid the long lines and late nights often found at brick-and-mortar stores on Black Friday and choose to shop online or participate in a mega-event the following week, coined Cyber Monday. Online Christmas shopping has more than tripled over the past six years as this means of shopping is more accessible and convenient and comes with a far reduced risk of being trampled by the stampede of shoppers racing to get their hands on the latest craze!

Cyber Monday has traditionally been the most profitable day of the year in terms of online shopping, with gross merchandise sales in the billions of dollars annually. However, we’re beginning to see an alarming trend! Though annual records continue to shatter for Cyber Monday purchases, Black Friday is applying pressure and threatening to de-throne Cyber Monday as the king of online sales. Less than one percent separates Cyber Monday and Black Friday – an alarming statistic, considering the gap was greater than 30 percent only four years ago. Why, you ask? We’ll list a few reasonable theories.

  • Black Friday sales (even door busters) are now honoring online purchases. Door busters online, really?
  • Purchases that traditionally would have required an early morning trip to the shopping mall are available online
  • The comfort of shopping from home…in your PJs, while eating your third slice of holiday pie
  • The calendar effect – Black Friday comes first!

We suspect it’s not that Black Friday is stealing business from Cyber Monday. Instead, Black Friday online is stealing from its in-store sibling. What do you think, subscribers? Is 2017 the year that Black Friday online surpasses Cyber Monday? Is 2022 the year that Black Friday online surpasses its in-store sibling?

Drew Leisen is a technical support intern at PQ Systems. He is a senior at Wright State University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in MIS.