Over the past several years, the Monday after Thanksgiving has given rise to just as many shopping deals as Black Friday, if not more. Cyber Monday, as it's known, has gone from retail also-ran to a key event for merchants.
One report from Adobe Systems predicts this year will see Cyber Monday sales top $2 billion, a figure that reflects an 18% increase over last year.
Several key sellers have actually stared focusing equally on their brick-and-mortar stores and their online presence. It's what retail analyst Hitha Prabhakar calls "omnichannel retailing," and it's a force to be reckoned with.
Thanks in part to a majority of younger shoppers going exclusively online, sales in the space are growing at 15% annually. It's no wonder that, as Prabhakar points out, several retailers are being more attentive to the online parts of their business and spending more money on their digital operations. In fact she goes as far as to predict "traditional brick-and-mortar stores [are] almost going away -- it's going to be a thing of the past."
But who is doing it the best? Prabhakar points to the big department stores, notably Nordstrom (JWN) and Macy's (M), as leading the charge. Both stores have solid footing with customers who actually get in their cars and drive to the mall to do their shopping. But more and more, these stores and those like them are increasing the size of their cyber footprint.
Nordstrom recently acquired online retailer HauteLook to beef up its online customer base, and it seems to be paying off. In fact, argues Prabhakar, "they're realizing that most of their sales are coming from online." Meanwhile, Macy's, realizing the same thing, has consistently seen its online sales expand every year of late.
It all leads to one conclusion: Cyber Monday is here to stay, and it will only become a bigger part of the retail sector's profits.