Cyber Monday may be over but the promotions certainly aren’t. This week, many retailers announced extensions of their Cyber Monday deals via social media channels, dedicated emails, homepages, and the search engine results page (SERP). Interestingly, advertisers have begun promoting what appears to be a new shopping trend on the horizon: Cyber Week. The recent repetition of the phrase “Cyber Week” in retail ad messaging sparked our interest, so naturally, we investigated.
On Wednesday, we performed a Google search for “Cyber Monday” which returned paid search ads from Best Buy, Target, Kohl’s and a handful of others boasting Cyber Week sales. The ad copy reflected weeklong sales rather than the infamous Monday mega-sale. Even retailers who weren’t using the term “Cyber Week” were attempting to extend their promotional efforts, offering Cyber Monday deals throughout the whole week.
This doesn’t seem to be a mere shift in semantics – it represents the desire of online retailers to capture as many consumers as possible by prolonging the post-Thanksgiving shopping spree. While Cyber Monday has become one of the most infamous shopping days of the year, it seems as though Cyber Week is beginning its eventual rise to the top. According to Google Trends, search interest in the term “Cyber Week” had minimal traction in the mid-2000s but exploded in 2013, with interest increasing 5x year over year. Clearly, large retailers are looking for new ways to drive sales during the busiest shopping time of the year, and Cyber Week seems to be catching on.
And the increased attention to online sales makes perfect sense after recent reports reveal that this year’s Black Friday sales were sluggish (not to mention hectic). Even with earlier open times (8pm on Thanksgiving day for some retailers) and bigger deals, Black Friday promotions could not compete with Cyber Monday deals that allow consumers to shop from the comfort of their home. Moving promotions to the online space may serve as the tentative answer for improving sluggish sales, especially considering that 47% of consumers list the “internet” as their favorite shopping destination, but does Cyber Week make sense in the long term?
According to Grant Simmons, Director of SEO and Social Product, the extension of Black Friday/Cyber Monday into a weeklong sale event may not have the intended effect advertisers are looking for. “By increasing the number of days that consumers can get ‘special’ promotional prices, the overall profit does not necessarily increase,” said Simmons. “It is merely spread out across the course of the promotions period as consumers wait for an offer they want, or feel less urgency to grab the best bargain on an individual day.”
With that said, trends demonstrate that Cyber Week is gaining popularity. It will be interesting to see how retailers and consumers adjust to weeklong sales. Will this be a new shopping trend in the recent future? Will smaller retailers adopt the new cyber week trend? We’ll be watching to see how retail advertisers react.