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Cyber Monday Is Just a Marketing Tool

Cyber Monday is here again and, like Black Friday and Singles Day, it appears to have become A Very Big Thing in a relatively short time-span. And yet the only shared criteria for all of the above is a desire to shift more goods as retailers seek to capitalise on rapacious demand for novelty and to take full advantage of the reach of the internet and social media to pocket our various currencies.

In some ways these ‘X days’ are just marketing tools and might be viewed as harmless celebrations of consumerism and disposable income. On the other hand, they perpetuate a reckless spending that fits queasily with the generation born into soaring unemployment, the shock of globalisation, the credit crunch and concern for the environmental future of our planet.

Also, it should be said that the bargains offered aren’t always what they seem. In technology, where price depreciation trends can follow lines akin to cartoon characters falling off a cliff, this is particularly so. The new stuff that seems a bargain at half-price will usually be available at about that price anyway if you search far enough or are willing to accept a barely-used version. In a few years it might be ‘worth’ a tenth of the original price you pay. Not such great ‘value’ after all.

The retailers might play a corny impression of generosity but canny ploys like Cyber Monday gave them more pleasure than buyers as many consumers pay for full-priced products while high on the thrill of the loss-leader purchase.

Watching the shameful sights of shoppers apparently willing to give up their safety and dignity is no fun. Consumer watchdogs might do more to make clear that the deals and steals are anything but as smart a trade as they are painted. And it might be no surprise at all if there isn’t a reaction: a sharing day where people swap purchases and behave with decorum perhaps?

 

Martin Veitch is Editorial Director at IDG Connect

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Martin Veitch

Martin Veitch is Contributing Editor for IDG Connect

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