What Will Consumer Behavior Teach us on Cyber Monday?

As we experience “Cyber Monday” (the online edition of Black Friday, considered one of the busiest online shopping days of the year), we consider the recent release of a compilation and analysis of current studies by Mintel implies that businesses should remain cautious as the economy continues to recover from this most recent recession. Top among the observations, Mintel notes that consumers are more vigilant about their spending and less likely to carelessly consume after they have felt the constraints of a strained budget over the course of the recession. It also suggests that the retail industry may have to re-invent itself in order to keep brick-and-mortar stores afloat. But there are other significant, positive trends as well, like consumers’ desire to go green, the continuing rise of the iPhone app (“in the US, sales of smartphones grew 82%”), and the gradual shift of gender roles as “women are earning and learning more than men.”

Interestingly, an article by Computerworld mirrors some of these same trends in business. Businesses made very narrow profit margins in the past year and are likely to continue to be very frugal in their spending. And, in terms of technology, mobile continues to grow (though sometimes posing a risk), Computerworld notes that “a huge percentage of employees are bringing personal quick-access storage devices to work and putting sensitive documents and e-mails on them.”

So what will Cyber Monday show? Do consumers indeed remain cautious about their spending? Is the economic recovery teetering on the brink? Or is consumer spending alive and well? Actions speak louder than words, so we’ll see what the receipts have to say. In the meantime, we always want to hear your thoughts. Is there even a connection between consumer spending and economic recovery (or will consumers spend regardless of whether it’s a good idea?)

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About Joshua Hoffman

Joshua Hoffman is Technology Specialist at Microsoft and a frequent contributor to Research Access.

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