Numerous agencies predict record breaking holiday sales for 2019.

It’s easy to find big deals on Cyber Monday from commercial giants like Walmart and Home Depot.

But as online sales figures continue to increase year by year, the newly heralded commercial holiday remains the purview of corporations, not the small business owner.

Renaya Soros, of Pike Creek, said she has largely avoided brick-and-mortar shopping for a few years, except for small or last-minute items that pop up on her holiday shopping list.

“I hate to say it, but I am one of those people,” she said, laughing. “I’m on my phone ordering stuff as soon as I get up. Sometimes before then, because Amazon has some specials the week before.”

She added that last year, she accomplished nearly all of her gift shopping on Cyber Monday, with packages arriving as late as two days before Christmas – too narrow a margin for her comfort.

“I guess that’s one benefit of going out to shop – you have it in your hands, and there’s comfort in that,” she said. “I just can’t stand crowds. It gives me a panic attack. I even buy my decorations online.”

While Amazon has never reported hard figures, the mega-company said that 2018 was its largest Cyber Monday yet, with customers having ordered more than 180 million items during the “Turkey 5” – the five days between Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday.

Making sales history

Cyber Monday made its debut Nov. 28, 2005, announced on the National Retail Foundation’s website, shop.org.

According to TechCrunch, Cyber Monday sales transactions hit an all-time record in 2018 at $7.9 billion with $2.2 billion made via smartphones or similar devices.

That’s up 19.7% on 2017’s estimated $6.6 billion.

While USA Today reported that last year’s biggest gifts ranged from PlayStation 4 bundles, iPads, and robot vacuum cleaners, Digital Trends predicts a number of hot Cyber Monday deals that include Apple Watches, outdoor security cameras, and 4K TVs – to name just a few.

Adobe Digital’s Holiday Forecast for 2019 predicts Cyber Monday sales to hit the $9.4 billion mark, with a predicted $143 billion in sales between Nov. 1 and Nov. 17.

The report also predicts Cyber Monday 2019 as the best day to buy that new television you’ve been eyeing, with an average savings of 19%.

Small biz alternative

In between the madness of Black Friday and the digital rush of Cyber Monday lies a smaller shopper’s extravaganza that keeps the sales local.

Small Business Saturday started in November 2010, promoted by American Express as the alternative to both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with the focus on shopping local.

Within two years, all 50 states had businesses participating in Small Business Saturday.

In a report from the National Federation of Independent Businesses 2018 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, researchers noted a 104 million shoppers spent a record high of $17.8 billion.

Charles Shattuck, owner of Wild Birds Unlimited in Hockessin, said that since many of his items would be hard to ship, he shies away from Cyber Monday sales – in fact, his store doesn’t even do Black Friday deals.

“We focus much more on Small Business Saturday,” Shattuck said. “We want to get people through the door, that’s the reason we have the store in the first place – to make that connection with our clients.”

He added that most small businesses couldn’t keep up with the overhead and logistical costs in keeping online sales running.

“Could you imagine a place like Everything but the Kitchen Sink or Casual Marketplace trying to ship some of the stuff they carry?” Shattuck said. “They couldn’t do it.”

Nov. 30 marks the date for Small Business Saturday. Cyber Monday officially starts Dec. 2.