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article imageIs this the final holiday shopping season as we've known it?

By Michael Essany     Dec 8, 2013 in Business
Based on the long lines, maddening crowds, and general human insanity observed in stores across the U.S. last month on Black Friday, consumers clearly still have a passion for finding deals in this post-Thanksgiving retail ritual.
But the passion is fading.
"Retailers pulled no punches in November, slashing prices, opening during the Thanksgiving holiday, blitzing online shoppers with deals well before Black Friday and offering perks such as price-matching and free shipping," says Tiffany Hsu of the L.A. Times. "But all their efforts couldn’t keep same-store sales for the month from missing expectations for a 3 percent year-over-year increase. Instead, the industry posted an anemic 1.9 percent increase."
Unlike Black Friday, which saw sales disappoint, Cyber Monday told a different story and clearly represents where more consumers are directing that passion of holiday bargain hunting.
Sales were up 17.5 percent on Cyber Monday compared with last year, according to IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark.
Custora Pulse, another e-commerce research company, reported that online sales actually climbed closer to 19 percent.
By all accounts, Americans were more interested in flocking to Amazon, JustDeals, and even the familiar webpages of national brick-and-mortar retailers.
"Black Friday is quickly losing its luster," says Kara Winders, an eCommerce analyst based in Boston. "Shoppers love the convenience of shopping from home and the surprisingly fulfilling degree of competitive satisfaction that comes from finding a bargain while everyone else is out braving the cold and fighting for a good parking space outside of the mall."
According to Winders, holiday shopping may look completely unfamiliar next year to those who hit the brick-and-mortar scene on Black Friday.
"Beginning in 2014, Black Friday is going to see drastically less in-store traffic," the analyst predicts. "For those who don't know about the shift in spending dollars toward eCommerce, daily deals, and mobile commerce, it would otherwise look like a depressed economy in some stores. Cyber Monday is eventually going to put Black Friday out of business."
More about Holiday shopping, Ecommerce, Black friday, Cyber monday, Online shopping
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