Cyber Monday: Hello Online Sales, Goodbye Worker Productivity


Cyber Monday isn’t traditionally known as the year’s least productive work day for employers in the U.S., but maybe it should be. Recent surveys by RetailMeNot, the largest digital coupon destination in the United States, now indicate that nearly 9 in 10 working consumers plan to spend at least some time shopping or browsing online for gifts during work hours on this first Monday of the month.

The popularity of Cyber Monday, the online sales holiday that falls on the first Monday after the Thanksgiving weekend, has been growing for years, but it is expected to be especially lucrative for retailers this year thanks to the increasing number of consumers who now do the majority of their shopping online. What’s beneficial to retailers, however, isn’t always advantageous to employers — because unlike Black Friday, Cyber Monday falls on a normal work day for employees, meaning many expect to do their shopping during regular work hours rather than on their free time.

According to RetailMeNot’s recent surveys, 86 percent of working consumers plan to spend some time shopping during work hours this Monday, and that means employers could see more than $2.5 billion per hour in lost work productivity when taking into consideration the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistic’s data that there are about 115 million working Americans with an average hourly wage of $24.10. The survey found that 1 in 4 working Americans plan to spend four hours or more shopping online for gifts during work hours today, and more than 1 in 5 of those surveyed have been caught at work doing so. Nearly 1 in 4 winter holiday gift givers plan to do more online shopping for gifts than they did last year.

So, what are these workers risking their jobs for? Unsurprisingly, electronics. RetailMeNot reports that 62 percent of gifts purchased on Cyber Monday fit into the electronics category, while 59 percent match up with entertainment, and 51 percent account for apparel. Males are more likely to purchase electronics than females, with a ratio of 70 percent versus 55 percent, but females are more likely to get caught buying apparel, with 60 percent of them planning on purchasing clothes, opposed to 41 percent of males. Almost half of females (48 percent) are likely to purchase toys, while only 28 percent of males are.

In other news, now more than ever, consumers plan to do the majority of their shopping via their mobile devices rather than their personal computers, as according to recent surveys, 46 percent of gift givers surveyed are playing on purchasing with their phones. Fifty-two percent of males maintained that they will shop via mobile device, while 40 percent of females responded the same way, and parents are more likely than those without children to pull out their phones to complete their purchases.

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