As the tech savvy Millennial Generation comes into its own as shoppers and the rest of us become more comfortable with on line shopping we are continuing to see a growth in cyber sales. That’s why this year’s projected increase for Cyber Monday sales (+12.4% forecast by IBISWORLD) against a projected flat Black Friday for bricks and mortar should be of concern to any bricks and mortar retailer.
As big a problem as it is for small retailers, it is an even bigger one for mass merchansiders. Target, Wal-Mart and the rest have to do enough business to support massive distribution centers and 200,000 square foot stores. Yet it is increasingly harder for the mass merchandisers to secure increases as they experience this steady drip of consumers from the bricks and mortar to the virtual economy. Perhaps that explains Wal-Mart’s desperate decision to move their store openings back from midnight to 10:00 PM Thanksgiving day.
What makes that decision ironic is that it is just the sort of crowd driven frenzy that a growing population of consumers wants to avoid. Why would anyone want to get up from their turkey induced coma to fight through that buying free-for-all when they can stay cozy and at home while finding exactly what they need on line…and at great prices too?
Mass market retailing is going to continue to lose consumers to the internet and it’s going to take more than opening two hours early to stem the tide. Keep your eye on this year's Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Its going to tell you a lot about the future of retailing.