It appears as if turkey isn’t the only thing consumed on Thanksgiving Day as the online purchase number reported by comScore shows a 28% increase in online commerce for the holiday.
That increase was also reported for the Black Friday online event. We await, of course, data from CyberMonday but until it actually happens we’ll refrain from giving numbers .
As has been the case for the past few years, year over year numbers need to be considered in the context of what the previous year has been like. We are still slogging through the worst recession in a long time (oh wait that’s right, the recession is over according to Washington’s latest Fantasy Economist League report). As a result, when you see large increases year over year it’s not always a sign of huge growth. It’s more like a sign of the hope of recovery.
So however you look at it, it is improvement. Also an improvement is the apparent shift from concentrating so much on one day (Black Friday) and seeing how offline sales for the holiday weekend were up. Whenever we get too myopic and concentrate on one thing too much we tend to make bad assumptions which will be followed by bad decisions. That’s bad policy.
People are getting smarter. The need to be in line at 4 am on one day for the year to get a deal is getting less and less important. I think this is great because it is bad for pricing in general. When people hold off for one day to get a ‘deal’ they forfeit other shopping days while waiting. This ends up setting the pricing bar so low that retailers are essentially cutting their noses off to spite their face.
Lastly, no matter how well the holiday season goes we need to exercise extreme caution in the ‘we are out of the economic woods’ talk. Marketers of consumer goods and services always tout this season as the predictor of whether the economy is on the mend. Maybe you should reconsider this level of importance which may be more hype than reality (What? Marketers stretching the truth? No way!)
So here’s to a healthy Cyber Monday and healthy dose of realism moving forward.