Cyber-Shopping Takes its Turn - Faces of Innovation
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Cyber-Shopping Takes its Turn

December 4, 2013

Online shopping has taken over a significant portion of gift shopping in the all-important period between Thanksgiving and Christmas.?? Major retailers that were open on Thanksgiving Day to get a jump on Black Friday were not just competing against other major brick-and-mortar stores; in a very real sense they were competing against buyers who never started their cars, nor fought for a parking space:? Cyber shoppers.

Online shopping wasn?t much of an option in the early part of this century.? According to the Pew organization in 2000 only 3 percent of the adult population had access to a broadband connection in their home.? Dial-up connections accounted for 34% and the remaining 63 percent had no Internet connection at all.

By 2005, home broadband adoption had increased by an order of magnitude to 34%.? Dial-up connections had dropped to about 28 percent and those with no Internet connection had been reduced to 38 percent.

Today, Pew estimates that at home broadband adoption has rocketed to 70 percent and dial-up connections are down to just 3 percent.? In addition, Pew notes, ?one-in-ten Americans own a smartphone? but have no wired broadband connection at home.

When the majority of Internet connections were through a dial-up modem, just waiting for a webpage to load required a great deal of patience ? too much patience for most retailers to believe their customers would possess.

But as Internet connection speeds increased, more and more retailers began to realize this was a medium that could generate a significant amount of additional purchases without having to make the capital and human expenditures involved in building, stocking, and hiring staff in a new store.

According to, ?Forrester Research predicted that overall online sales this holiday season will reach $78.7 billion, up 15% over 2012, when sales were $68.4 billion, with 167 million shoppers holiday shopping online and spending an average of $472.?

IBM?s data showed that ?mobile is nearing half of all e-commerce traffic on Thanksgiving. In all it accounted for 42.6% of all traffic, and nearly 26% of all sales – up 49% on 2012.?

The level of complexity of retail websites to allow users to browse hundreds of products, alert the respective shipping company when an order is placed and generate a tracking number and email confirmation to the consumer was unimaginable when the modern Internet was first contemplated less than two decades ago.

Cyber shopping, both wired and mobile, will continue to claim a larger and larger share of the busiest shopping days of the year.