Cast your mind back a couple of years, and the Monday after Thanksgiving was just another hurdle in the countdown to Christmas day. Now, it’s otherwise known as ‘Cyber Monday’, an online counterpart to the commercial madness that is Black Friday. Another chance for the Scrooges of retail to fill their pockets, you might ask? Not if trends in the UK market are anything to go by.

According to an infographic from Toner Giant, Cyber Monday is growing in popularity year after year. In 2013, £600m was spent online by keen shoppers on Cyber Monday, who bought a staggering 7.7 million products. Whilst these statistics could be daunting for smaller businesses, should they be a reason to shy away from the possible benefits of Cyber Monday?

The official Cyber Monday website has a ‘Small Business’ section, including over 50 companies and their selected deals and offers. Sadly, there isn’t a UK version of this website; but thanks to PayPal, UK businesses could still sell their products to the US and wider market.
A concern here is that Cyber Monday might replicate the habits of Black Friday shoppers, where eager shoppers flock to the biggest stores in the hope of securing the biggest bargains. But if budding retailers arm themselves with a strong and secure website, then they may be able to reel in some of the competition from the likes of John Lewis and Argos.

What’s more, the nature of online shopping itself may be good news for small companies. The ‘Cyber Monday 2013 Report’, published by IBM last year, looked at the habits of US shoppers for last year’s Cyber Monday. The report showed that mobile traffic increased by 45% from 2012, and mobile sales increased year-over-year by 55.4%.

Contrastingly, according to the previously referenced report by TonerGiant, 67% of UK shoppers bought their goods from a desktop or laptop, whilst phones and tablets made up the other 33%.

This raises concerns as to which market small businesses should focus on. If they want to jump on the bandwagon of the US market, which spent $2.29bn last year, then they need to make the most of the opportunities presented by Cyber Monday’s website and the mobile market. Of course, it would be much safer to focus on the domestic market, as long as they tailor towards its trends and habits.

Either way, there’s potential for small businesses at this time of year, as shopping moves away from the ‘shop ‘til you drop’ method of the past to an online-focused market. However, it’s up to them whether they attempt to reap its benefits, or wait until the shopping storm has passed.

Image courtesy of Tim Reckmann