Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday is the holiday shopping heavyweight bout. American consumers will spend $586 billion on holiday shopping this year, and of that, $96 billion will be spent online. The scorecard suggests the reigning champ, Black Friday, will remain undefeated, pulling in around $490 billion. However, there’s more to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday contest than the amount of money spent by consumers. It all comes down to what type of shopping experience you prefer, the hands-on approach of Black Friday, or the far-from-the-maddening-crowd attitude of Cyber Monday. There are pros and cons to each.
Black Friday or Cyber Monday: Which do you prefer? Image by Vanderelbe.de via Flickr.
Black Friday or Cyber Monday? It’s like asking someone if they prefer The Beatles or The Stones. Shopping purists say there’s nothing festive about sitting behind a computer and ordering gift items online. These types of shoppers want to walk through the mall with a hot chocolate in hand, or look at the Christmas lights blinking above decorated downtown storefronts. They want to bring their children to sit on Santa’s lap and visit the Elves’ Workshop. Black Friday is more than just a shopping day; it’s a holiday tradition.
The Sound and the Fury of Black Friday
A line at Best Buy on Black Friday. Image by tshein via Flickr.
The number of shoppers who turn up for door-buster deals has made Black Friday a dangerous event. In 2008, a crowd broke down the doors of a Wal-Mart in Valley Stream, NY, trampling one worker and two shoppers to death. In 2011, a woman in Porter Ranch, CA, used pepper spray to battle her fellow shoppers for the last Xbox 360. Shooting, fights and mobs have turned malls into Gladiator-style events on Black Friday. With the PS4 and Xbox One hitting stores this season, it may be safer to pre-order a console from your living room.
The Joys of Couch Commerce
There are more incentives to shopping on Cyber Monday than just avoiding Black Friday crowds. Online exclusives, free or reduced shipping costs, and in-store pickups are also why consumers avoid navigating the mall. With the number of apps available to make holiday shopping easier, Web window shopping on Cyber Monday beats trying to track down a deal in a mall on Black Friday.
It is said 52 percent of consumers spend an hour or more doing research for Black Friday shopping. Who has that kind of free time? Apps like Catalog Spree, TheFind and PriceBlink will not only get you in the holiday spirit, but also save you valuable shopping time.
Time Saving Apps
Catalog Spree offers a collection of online catalogs from major retailers. Stores like Coldwater Creek, American Girl and Sephora are represented. New catalogs and updates are continually being added.
TheFind is a gadget lover’s dream. Consumers can use their phones, tablets or laptops to check and compare process of online items. The app can even be accessed from a Facebook account. You can also scan over 1,000 print catalogs. Thinking of buying some home decor for your mother-in-law but you don’t know if Crate and Barrel or JCPenney.com has the better deal, just log on to TheFind and take a look.
PriceBlink is another popular comparison shopping app. You get notification when special promotions are launched. PriceBlink also tracks coupon codes and offers product reviews.