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Cyber Monday Sales Up, Blu-ray Among Searches

2 Dec, 2008 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Consumer awareness — not necessarily sales — of high-definition format Blu-ray Disc reached a crescendo through the Black Friday weekend as Blu-ray was a top search on retail promotion Web site CyberMonday.com. Meanwhile overall online sales Cyber Monday topped $700 million, up 21% from the same time last year, according data released by comScore.

Online research firm comScore projects online retail revenue in November and December to top $29 billion, up 20% from 2006.

Cyber Monday — championed as the Web’s answer to brick-and-mortar’s Black Friday — typically represents the first surge in online consumer spending activity for the holiday season. The first day of the week was deliberately chosen since purchases from work account for about 50% of all e-commerce spending, according to comScore.

Retailers included Borders, which offered up to 40% off DVD box sets and 50% off all Blu-ray titles; Netflix; Blockbuster (50% off first month of Total Access); Best Buy (50% off any Samsung upconverting DVD player with the purchase of a Samsung HDTV); and free shipping from Walmart.com.

Ellen Davis, VP with the National Retail Federation, which runs CyberMonday.com, said consumer electronics and packaged media tend to be areas where consumers are very focused on price, and many use the Internet to find the best deal.

“We know that both [consumer electronics and packaged media] were very strong over the weekend in stores, and we certainly presume the same would be true online,” Davis said.

The top searches on CyberMonday.com were for Nintendo’s Wii game system, GPS devices and video games. Others included DVDs, music CDs and Blu-ray, according to Davis.

“Certainly, there is a lot of consumer interest about the new format, and I believe it was one of the items consumers were searching for,” she said. “Whether or not they ended up buying it is another issue. Consumer awareness of Blu-ray is high, but taking that next step to actually buy it in this economy is another matter.”

She said with Wal-Mart offering a Magnavox Blu-ray player for $128 dollars over the weekend, the bar had been lowered, in effect rendering $200 BD players yesterday’s news.

“Many people who saw the really cheap Blu-ray ray promotions over the weekend couldn’t find as good deals online on Monday,” Davis said. “People are definitely looking at prices both in stores and online before making purchase decisions this year.”

Even with a strong Black Friday and Cyber Monday, companies remain realistic in a down economy.

“There is just a lot of work left to do before we close the books on the holiday season,” Davis said. “They were able to bring a lot of consumers into stores through sales and promotions, but they need to find creative ways to get people to continue coming in. Because there are five fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year than last year, retail has the added pressure to keep that momentum going. We don’t have a week to waste.”


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