It was in 1863 when Abraham Lincoln set the official date for Thanksgiving as the last Thursday of November. The proclamation lasted 75 years until 1939, when the last Thursday of November fell on the 30th. Afraid that just 24 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas was not enough time for consumers to get their shopping in, American retailers asked President Franklin D. Roosevelt to push Thanksgiving forward one week. In an effort to help a struggling economy in the midst of World War II, FDR changed Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday of November.
This gave consumers additional time to participate in the holiday shopping season. Quickly, this idea that more time equaled more sales took hold, and created competition between stores. The battle began to be the first to open on Black Friday.
Today Cyber Monday takes the competition a step further. This first Monday after Thanksgiving, which gives online shoppers an easy platform for comparison shopping, has taken over Black Friday by 29% in online sales. In fact, last years Coremetrics report noted a 33% increase in sales from over 10 million Cyber Monday customers.
In line with John Ray's famous proverb the early bird catcheth the worm, retailers are focusing in on digital advertising much earlier than usual. Shop.org's eHoliday Survey found 61% of online retailers started their promotions by Halloween. The survey also notes that 35% of shoppers choose online shopping because of free shipping, a promotion that 3 out of 10 retailers will begin touting much earlier than last year.
How has holiday shopping changed for you over the years? Do you clip coupons and wake up early on Black Friday to take advantage of the deals in-store, or do you try and get your shopping done through online retailers?