The term for online shopping on the Monday following Thanksgiving is known as Cyber Monday. Each year a growing number of people are going online to do their holiday shopping. Since the term was coined by the National Retail Foundation’s Shop.org in 2005, Cyber Monday spending has more than tripled. By avoiding a trip to the mall, shoppers cut down on their environmental impacts including emissions associated with car travel.
According to a report by GigaOm, Black Friday is 50 times more carbon intensive than Cyber Monday shopping. While the report is imperfect, it shows how driving cars to the mall en masse is not an eco-friendly way to shop.
One suggestions to reduce the footprint (and cost) of online shopping is to avoid overnight shipping (air freight). According to The Daily Green ground transportation is better than rush delivery. Ground shipping is six times more energy efficient than air. Not only do airplanes release more greenhouse gases (GHGs) than terrestrial vehicles, they release these GHGs higher in the atmosphere, which has a greater adverse impact on global warming than gases emitted at ground level. Data from the Center for Energy Climate Solutions shows that even when using overnight shipping, the carbon impact of buying online is a fraction of driving to a mall or store.
As reported in a Washington Post article, in 2005 Cyber Monday sales were $484 million, according to digital research agency comScore, by 2012 they had more than tripled to $1.465 billion — making last Cyber Monday the heaviest online spending day in history. In an attempt to encourage more digital purchasing some retailers are now celebrating “Cyber Week.” This Cyber Monday could be the biggest on record — comScore is predicting $2 billion in online sales from computers and mobile devices.
3.2 percent over last year according to Shoppertrak Research. On Black Friday
sales at brick and mortar retail outlets were actually down 13.2 percent
compared to last year’s sales. according to Shoppertrak. IBM reports that
online sales using mobile devices like tablets and phones are up 40 percent on
Black Friday this year compared to 2012. Overall online purchases using a mobile phone represent 17 percent of sales which is up 55 percent over last year.
A USA Today article, citing data from E-commerce firm ChannelAdvisor, reports that online shopping is on the increase. Sales on eBay.com jumped 35% through noon EST on Black Friday, compared to the same holiday last year. Client sales on Amazon.com rose 25 percent in the same period.
A record $1 billion was spent online on Thanksgiving day, according to Adobe Systems, which analyzed 180 million visits to more than 1,000 U.S. retail websites.
“The internet is now the number one destination for shopping,” said Brent Schoenbaum, a partner in consulting giant Deloitte.
There are a number of good deals to be had for online shoppers this year. Some entrepreneurial shoppers buy items at a reduced rate on Black Friday then resell them on Cyber Monday at sites like eBay.com.
Online shopping at this time of year is not only a great way to avoid the crowds, it is also a relatively less environmentally destructive way to make your purchases.
On Cyber Monday and everyday consider buying less and always assess the environmental footprint of the items you buy.