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Record online sales expected for Cyber Monday; local retailers want in on the action

Black Friday shoppers
Black Friday shoppers

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday – this holiday weekend is now being called the Cyber 5, or the five days from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday.

In 2005, the National Retail Federation, or NRF, first coined the term Cyber Monday for the phenomenon it had been seeing the Monday following Thanksgiving.

For several years in a row, NRF noticed a recurring spike in online traffic and revenue on Monday after people returned to work where they could make purchases on their work computers with faster internet speeds and be away from prying eyes trying to get a sneak peek at their gifts.

Mountain Money: History of Cyber Monday

Kristin McGrath with Retail Me Not said while much has changed since 2005, consumers' love for online shopping has only grown. Even Black Friday, which is traditionally thought of as an in-person shopping holiday, has become a huge e-commerce event.

“While that has changed, and a lot of us are still working from home, Black Friday and Cyber Monday really have blended together,” McGrath said. “Black Friday's moved more online, retailers are starting Cyber Monday on Saturday and Sunday. So what it's become is this giant deals marathon weekend and we kind of call it the Cyber 5, it's just nonstop shopping from Thursday, you know, through Monday.”

Big box stores and major retailers aren’t the only ones prioritizing online sales. Small businesses across the country, including those in Park City, are running holiday sales and internet specials they hope will entice consumers to shop small.

Not only will shopping small help local businesses stay afloat, Scott House with the Park City Chamber of Commerce said when people shop local, 67 cents of every dollar stays in the community.

“You have to think about it as you invest in that small business, that dollar stays, you know, goes farther in your community,” House said. “But then that small business is investing that dollar as well. And they're investing that in, you know, service providers, so whether that's cleaning landscaping, carpenters, electricians to keep their businesses open, suppliers, different vendors. So when we spend that money in our community, it really goes a lot deeper into our economy.”

Of the small business owners surveyed by American Express this year, nationwide nearly one in four said the holiday sales season will make or break their business.

Scott Dudevoir with Cole Sport in Park City said holiday sales are a large part of its business. For Cole Sport, Thanksgiving weekend and Presidents Day weekend are when it sees the largest sales records. And while the store does have an online presence, Dudevoir, who locals know as “Dude,” said they’re not taking part in any Cyber Monday sales.

While a local gear and apparel shop in a ski town may not focus on online deals, it may be missing out.

In 2020, customers spent $10.8 billion on Cyber Monday, and this year, McGrath said, all signs point to a new spending record.

“We found out that slightly more shoppers say they plan to shop Cyber Monday than planned to shop Black Friday, so it's going to be a big one,” McGrath said. “Adobe Analytics is saying consumers are going to spend about $11 billion on Cyber Monday, which is up about $2 billion from what they spent on during Black Friday.”

According to estimates, Black Friday 2022 sales raked in a record $9.12 billion from online shoppers despite concerns of inflation and higher prices. McGrath said inflation accounts from some of the increase this year.

“When we surveyed consumers, they said that they were going to try to spend a little less than they did last year or buy fewer gifts to make up for inflation," McGrath said. "But those early numbers out from Black Friday, we find that consumers actually spent a little more but a lot of that is probably with some inflation baked in, they spent a little more to get a little less, but consumers are trying to be as choosy as they can with what they buy.”

Whether people decide to shop small, in-store or online, shipping delays aren’t expected to be as bad as they were last year. The United States Postal Service said Dec. 17 is the shipping deadline for retail ground and first-class mail and Dec. 23 is the deadline for priority mail express service.