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Along with a number of genuine national holidays, the end of November and beginning of December are a time for consumers to enjoy a time of frantic spending as we commemorate fictional occasions created by retailers to help make a few extra sales.
These special shopping days always have awful buzzword names that initially mean very little to anyone outside of the marketing industry, but eventually come to be used in every day conversation due to the good work of PRs and the national media.
Off the back of Thanksgiving we’ve just enjoyed Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which heralded the usual surge in online spending and unseemly squabbling in stores.
And here are some interesting stats detailing just how much was spent during the annual sales bonanza...
Cyber Monday proved to be hugely popular with US consumers, with almost $2bn spent online in 24 hours.
And new stats from Monetate show that the increasingly important role that tablets are playing in the post-Thanksgiving shopping bonanza.
The data shows that conversion rates on the iPad on Cyber Monday were over 6%, more than 2% higher than any other day during the Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday period.
Furthermore, tablet conversion rates (5.84%) actually exceeded conversion rates on desktop (5.51%).
Thanks to the rise of online shopping, Cyber Monday is now arguably just as big a cultural institution as its cousin, Black Friday. And it's only getting bigger: with Black Friday online sales topping $1bn for the first time ever, analysts are predicting that when retailers are done counting, this year's Cyber Monday may produce more than $1.5bn in sales.
Naturally, that has companies looking to cash in. But the deals aren't just limited to traditional holiday shopping fare like clothing.
If you believe the hype, then you’ll know that over the weekend e-commerce sites were overwhelmed with frantic shoppers clamouring for bargains.
Major retailers would have us believe that shoppers have nothing better to do the day after Thanksgiving than trawl the internet looking for the best deals on the latest technologies.
But is that actually the reality? As well as blogging seven awesome Black Friday and Cyber Monday infographics, I’ve rounded up some stats to show the sales and traffic boost that occurs on Black Friday and Cyber Monday...
Despite its ominous sounding name, Black Friday is always one of busiest shopping days of the year for US retailers as shoppers spend their day off hunting for bargains online.
It's quickly followed by Cyber Monday, another bumper pay day for e-commerce sites as the spending continues after the weekend.
There are numerous predictions and stats around exactly how much will be spent and by whom, so here's a round up of seven infographics looking at consumer spending on Black Friday and Cyber Monday...
As Black Friday is only a few days away, stores on and offline are rushing to be the first choice for consumers. Though the brick and mortar shops are still leading the way, ecommerce is quickly catching up.
IgnitionOne has put together this handy infographic to highlight the shift in shopping by the numbers. The biggest uplift in sales had to be Cyber Monday in 2011 which was actually the heaviest online shopping day of all time, bringing in $1.25 billion in sales.
50% of those dollars spent orginated from people buying at work which would make sense for those who couldn't get to the deals on Black Friday in store.
The holiday shopping rush will begin next week in earnest and, as they do every year, retailers are hoping that the most important season will be good to them.
While online channels have grown increasingly important in recent years, historically, the name of the game for retailers has been to get as many people lining up outside of stores at insane hours in anticipation of deals that await them when the doors open.
But times are changing. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), fewer holiday bargain hunters will venture out on Black Friday and subsequent weekend. All told, the NRF expects 147m Americans to leave their homes for the mall next week, down from 152m in 2012.
When shopping around for the best deal across online and offline channels, consumers are often given a simple yet frustrating choice: convenience or price.
This is particularly true when it comes to price match guarantees offered in brick-and-mortar stores, which often restrict the price match to a price offered by another brick-and-mortar retailer.
As of mid-December 2011, six of the largest online spending days ever in the United States had been seen during the holiday shopping season.
So it's not surprising that the holiday shopping season of November and December of last year proved to be the biggest ever.
According to comScore, the total haul for online retailers was a whopping $37.2bn, up 15% from the prior year.
Online and multichannel retailers pulled out their big guns in an effort to entice shoppers to open their wallets this holiday shopping season.
Early sales and heavy discounts figured prominently in their strategies, leading some to wonder whether they'd do too much, too early, leading to a drop-off in sales as the season progressed.
We quickly learned that the strong start sparked by Thanksgiving Day sales didn't apear to have a negative impact on Black Friday, and a strong Black Friday didn't stop consumers from spending on Cyber Monday.
But how are things going now?
For companies hit by Google's Panda updates, the search giant's approach to cleaning up its index may seem quite unfair.
But if Google has been aggressive with Panda, its efforts appear to be no match when compared to Microsoft's efforts to increase index quality on Bing. Need proof? Just ask CyberMonday.com, which is run by the National Retail Federation's Shop.org.
Would a Thanksgiving and Black Friday push that saw retailers pushing online deals as hard as they were pushing offline deals have a negative impact on Cyber Monday?
Some retail industry observers argued that retailers eager to make Black Friday a multichannel event might simply shift purchases that would have come on Cyber Monday.
Holiday shoppers sprinted to snatch up bargains last week, so were the cautious observers right?