Nov 30, 2021 - Economy

Retailers see upside to slower Cyber Monday

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

We found out today that this year’s biggest online shopping day was smaller than last year’s — and that’s OK. 

Why it matters: The pandemic pushed more people to shop more online more often, prompting companies to spread deals out throughout the year to attract those dollars. 

  • Retailers aren't complaining because spreading out sales reduces strain on supply chains and the risk of upset customers.

State of play: Amazon, Walmart, Target and Best Buy were among major retailers who held Black Friday-like promotions around the same time this summer. 

  • Amazon, specifically, noted that its Prime Day moved to June from July this year to avoid holiday transportation snags amid broader supply chain issues.

By the numbers: Nearly half of shoppers said they’d already dipped into pre-Thanksgiving deals this year, according to a study by the National Retail Federation.

  • Holiday shopping is still expected to grow between 8.5% and 10.5% from last year, per NRF.

What they're saying: "If you don't have to ship everything at once, you can better manage your costs. And if you can space out when you sell things, you don't have to stock your inventory all at once," Taylor Schreiner, director of Adobe Digital Insights, tells Axios.

  • Retailers that can "execute a slow burn with lower discounts" could also keep higher margins, he added.

The big picture: Spreading out sales lowers the pressure for any singular day to outperform, which some companies will find to be helpful in more volatile economic times, says Schreiner.

The bottom line: Thanksgiving weekend into Cyber Monday is no longer the kickoff to the holiday shopping season — it is the halfway point, Katherine Cullen, a senior director at the National Retail Federation, tells Axios. 

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