Cyber Monday Launches Online Holiday Shopping The Monday after Thanksgiving is dubbed "Cyber Monday" because it marks the first big online shopping surge for many merchants as consumers return to their work computers. A number of retailers are hosting one-day sales or special offers for the occasion.
NPR logo

Cyber Monday Launches Online Holiday Shopping

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Cyber Monday Launches Online Holiday Shopping

Cyber Monday Launches Online Holiday Shopping

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


Everybody said you wouldn't shop quite so much on the day after Thanksgiving, but apparently, you did go shopping - quite a lot. The day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday because retailers are supposed to see their bottom lines go into the black. Retailers were worried about a red Friday instead, but in fact, sales surged.

We've got retail analyst Howard Davidowitz on the line to find out what happened.

Good morning.

Mr. HOWARD DAVIDOWITZ (Chairman, Davidowitz & Associates Inc.): Good morning.

INSKEEP: So what happened to the dire warnings of hardly any sales?

Mr. DAVIDOWITZ: Well, I think everybody expected sales to be very a dynamic Black Friday. I think the concern is the day after. I think you will see and I think most people - you're going to see a big low now for about 10 days. The promotions were tremendous. The deals were terrific. The preparation was excellent.

Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Penney's, Kohl's were loaded. It was driven on promotions, lots of people came out. The average customer spent less than last year, but about 140, 150 million folks went shopping.

INSKEEP: So they got people into the stores for that one day, but you're not sure…

Mr. DAVIDOWITZ: Correct.

INSKEEP: …that's going to be sustained for the season.

Mr. DAVIDOWITZ: Right. We're going to see a lull now because everybody was geared up for that day where having got the best possible deals; retailers can't repeat that. Those deals are prime-phased. Their one-day sales; their five-hour sales; their seven-hour sales - those super deals are over for a while now, so you'll see a major falloff in shopping.

INSKEEP: What does it mean that the average consumer spent a little less?

Mr. DAVIDOWITZ: I think you're going to see people spend less because of the - the average American has got the highest debt he's ever had, falling home prices, adjustable rate mortgages going up. So, you know, he's - the average American is sort of underwater financially - so negative saving. So you're going to see people spend less on the holiday, and that's exactly what happened on Black Friday.

INSKEEP: So in spite of, in some ways, a strong Black Friday, you think the National Retail Federation is right to predict the weakest retail-sales holiday season in five years?

Mr. DAVIDOWITZ: Yeah, I think it will be worse than what they are predicting. Significantly ideal, only half of what they're predicting, maybe a growth of 1 to two percent, I think what they are predicting is that if you look at last month of what happened: Penney is down, Macy's down, Bon-Ton down, Gottschalk's down, Kohl's downs, Penney's - you go down a list. Limited down, Ann Taylor down, Gap down - almost every retail was negative. Talbot's on (unintelligible) of sales base was negative, so I don't see a dynamic retail season at all.

INSKEEP: Very briefly, let's talk about the so-called Cyber Monday. Retailers seem to want everybody to go on their computers today and buy something.

Mr. DAVIDOWITZ: I think this was the very dynamic area. Online sales and gift cards are very dynamic areas. I think everybody will go on their computers today. It's so convenient. It's so easy. They could also shop from work, and there are a tremendous number of deals one day only for Cyber Monday.

So I think you're going to see some terrific business again on Cyber Monday because of a lot of the deals, a lot of retails, tons of emails went out, special promotion. A lot of stuff is geared for this Monday, and a lot of people are going to take advantage of that shopping from work.

INSKEEP: Retailers trying to stay afloat. Mr. Davidowitz, thanks very much.

Mr. DAVIDOWITZ: And thanks for inviting me.

INSKEEP: Howard Davidowitz is head of the retail consulting firm in his own name. He's based in New York.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.