For a long time we, the American consumer, have been accustomed to packing up the family and heading to the mall the day after Thanksgiving in order to take advantage of the massive sales that kick off the December holiday season. So much so, that retailers started calling that particular Friday Black Friday because it put retail stores back in the financial black for the year.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a few new terms come about… Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday. Both of these new days are intended to capitalize on the holiday spirit and are using the digital marketplace to separate you from your money… er… help you invest wisely in goods and social services. But did you ever stop and think about the folks without speedy internet who want to celebrate these newfangled American holidays? Not to mention the lost revenue and the donations.
How much are we actually talking about though… bear with me as I do some back of the envelope calculations… Fortune cites the bounty from online purchases at $3.39 billion dollars and notes that there were also high sales over the weekend. They also note that the online purchase trend is one that is increasing and cutting into storefront retail sales… growing market opportunity alert!
And just who is making these purchases? Business Insider did a survey for online purchases in 2014 that found that 50%+ of men and women shopped online, and more men (22%) than women (18%) were using mobile devices to make purchases. This was especially surprising given that women tend to control ~80% of household spending. Lesson here… more men shop online than in stores and most people are not interested in using their mobile devices to do so.
Now let’s take a brief look at the broadband access… Pew Research states that ~67% of homes have broadband access and the rest seem to be settling for using their mobile devices to access the digital marketplace. But we’ve already seen that people are less inclined to make purchases using a mobile device, which means that, assuming they have money to spend for holiday gifts, they will spend it in-person or not at all.
This tells me, and keep in mind that this is a very limited analysis, that there’s an opportunity for large online retailers to expand their customer base if they can find ways to support community and rural broadband expansion efforts. Which brings us back to Giving Tuesday… and perhaps a new funding opportunity for community efforts.