For the past decade, today has been known as “Cyber Monday,” as in the busiest online shopping day of the year. It traditionally has followed Black Friday, as in the day when retailers can get in the black. However, this year The Wall Street Journal reported that the mobile element has mixed things up. In recent years there was talk that it would be Black Friday, Cyber Monday and possibly Mobile Tuesday – but shoppers looking for bargains found that it was easier to use the phone on Friday.
The paper reported that payments made through PayPal via a mobile device jumped some 650 percent this year. Of course, we need to put that in perspective. Use of PayPal Mobile was very small a year ago, and now has clearly hit its stride.
Another factor is the growing use of mobile or WAP sites for major retailers. Consumers could do shopping at the stores, but use their mobile phones to comparison shop. So instead of even going across the food court at the mall, it was very easy to compare prices without doing much walking.
And there are other factors as well. 2009 could very well become the year of the smartphone, and the year of the mobile Web, thus making it easier for consumers. Because the phone is with you when you’re shopping there is no reason to wait to be in front of a computer. Plus, on that note, the concept of Cyber Monday is also likely outdated – the day when consumers returned to work and gained access to high speed Internet (not something they had in the home). This was true for most back in the late 1990s, now however, with broadband just about everywhere you don’t need to wait until Monday morning – or Monday lunchtime for those dedicated workers – to do your shopping. Instead, shoppers likely are using the computer even before slicing the turkey.
In fact, this reporter suggests that we’re seeing Cyber Wednesday just as often, and the mobile phone is just complimenting those actually hitting the stores on Thursday (for retailers that are now opening on the holiday to encourage the rush) and Friday. However, there are those who believe today’s Cyber Monday could be huge. Shop.org and BIGresearch found that 96.5 million Americans still plan to shop online at some point on Cyber Monday, up from 85 million a year ago. So maybe computers and the Internet will run slower as a result.
One thing is for certain, technology has changed the way we’ve shopped. This could be one of the biggest changes since Sears & others started mailing out their catalogs 150+ years ago!
Mobile Shopping Apps
If you still have shopping to do, consider using your mobile. Last week our friends at Cnet.com ran an article on the best iPhone apps for Black Friday. USA Today also offers some shopping tips. So rather than repeat what these outlets have said I encourage you to visit their sites and read it from them.