NEW YORK – The Monday after Thanksgiving is still a time when millions of Americans pause to check out online deals and check off items from their gift list – but a one-day Cyber Monday frenzy appears to be going the way of the dial-up modem.
Shoppers who have high-speed connections at home and on their phones are pouncing on deals that stores are spreading out over several days, leaving the so-called Cyber Monday online shopping bonanza in danger of losing its title as the top online sales day.
"Because Cyber Monday is no longer about the connection, it’s just another sales day that I can plan for, like a Labor Day sale or Fourth of July sale," said Gartner analyst Gene Alvarez. "I know it’s coming, does it fit into my schedule, and will I do my holiday shopping that day, Black Friday or wait to see what comes up later?"
So instead of doorbuster markdowns on a select few products, retailers are shifting to a stream of discounts and alerts during the entire week via email and social media. Cartwheel, Target’s digital app, started offering holiday deals including 50 percent off one toy per day on Nov. 1. Amazon started offering 35 days of Black Friday deals on Nov. 16. And Wal-Mart kicked off its Cyber Monday deals on Friday for the first time as it aimed to grab customers ahead of its competitors.
"It’s really this weeklong flow of deals," said Shawn DuBravac, chief economist at the Consumer Technology Association.
Lea Bishop from Carmel, Indiana, picked up tickets to the Texas Tenors at her local performing arts center because they had a rare buy-two-get-two-free deal.
"It’s those once-a-year deals that I’m looking for today," she said. Otherwise, she noticed retailers have been spreading out deals.
"It seems like they should rename Black Friday to Black Friday Week and rename Cyber Monday to Cyber Monday weekend," she said.
Matthew Cannata of New Britain, Connecticut, said he and his wife meticulously map out their shopping weekend. They hit the stores Thursday night and Friday morning and started browsing online Saturday. They saw more discounts early this year and use services like buying items online and picking them up in the store, Cannata said.
"We are casting a wide net on any and all types of gifts," he said.