Slow Cyber Monday May Be Productivity Boost for the Boss

Fewer people likely to be shopping online today, meaning work is actually getting done

blue shopping carts rolling down the lane
Credit: Thinkstock

Company bigwigs hoping their employees are doing more work than online shopping today may be in luck.

Cyber Monday, which arrives on the first Monday after Thanksgiving, is traditionally known for the discounted online deals offered by retailers, large and small, to entice shoppers to sneak in some holiday buying at the workplace. While often good for stores and shoppers, it's not been so good for workplace productivity.

That issue may be fading, however. A survey by the National Retail Federation shows fewer people plan to do their online shopping today.

"For today's shopper, every day is 'Cyber Monday,' and consumers want and expect great deals, especially online, throughout the entire holiday season, and they know retailers will deliver," Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the federation, said in a statement. "Retailers will still offer unique deals exclusive to Cyber Monday, but consumers also know shopping on Cyber Monday won't be their last chance to find low prices and exclusive promotions."

The study, which surveyed 4,631 American buyers this past weekend, showed that 126.9 million shoppers plan to buy something online today. While that is a huge number, it's down from the 131.6 million who planned to shop during Cyber Monday last year.

Of those shopping today, nearly 41% said they planned to be online bright and early to catch early-bird deals.

Another 18.4% said they plan to shop during their lunch hour. And -- employers take note -- 32.5% plan to shop this afternoon.

While workers may be a bit more productive today than on past Cyber Mondays, Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, noted that people may still do their online shopping at work - it just might not be today.

"The slowdown in Cyber Monday only helps employers if employees do their non-Cyber Monday online shopping on weekends and in the evening," he added. "If people are shopping from their cubes all season long, it's still a productivity loss."

The lower numbers for Cyber Monday shoppers echo data coming from last week's Black Friday and this past weekend, as well.

The National Retail Federation reported that overall in-store and online shopping traffic between Thanksgiving Day and Sunday dropped 5.2% from 2013.

The retail organization's analysts largely blamed pre-Thanksgiving sales and the increasing ability to shop online around the clock for the decrease last weekend.

This story, "Slow Cyber Monday May Be Productivity Boost for the Boss" was originally published by Computerworld.

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