Sunday, November 27, 2011

Online shopping at work

The holiday season began with the best Black Friday online sales ever, $816 million up by 26 percent compared to last year. Going by the trend sales on Cyber Monday, the big day in online shopping, look promising as well. According to comScore, last year Cyber Monday sales were the biggest and raked in over $1 billion.

Unfortunately as the name suggests it happens to be on a Monday when people are at work. That means in order to grab one of those online deals you have the difficult task of maintaining the "work-shop" balance.

According to Careerbuilder survey, 50 percent of American workers plan to spend time holiday shopping online at work this season – on par with 52 percent last year. Of these workers, 34 percent will spend one hour or more shopping (up from 27 percent in 2010) and 16 percent will spend two or more hours (up from 13 percent in 2010). Employers do notice this and 7 percent of human resource managers surveyed have fired an employee for holiday shopping.

In another survey organized by Robert Half Technology, 60 percent of the 1400 CIOs interviewed from companies across US having more than 100 employees said their companies block access to online shopping sites. This percentage is up from 48 percent in 2010. 23 percent plan to monitor employee activity for excessive non-work related use. The CIOs whose firms allow online shopping said they expect employees to spend four hours per week, on average, surfing for deals this holiday season. For the ones who think otherwise here is an interesting study by National University of Singapore researchers that claims browsing the Internet serves an important restorative function and enhances workers productivity.

Interesting consequence of this at work limitation would be more sales using mobile devices. According to IBM, this year Black Friday mobile deal seeker traffic increased to 14.3 percent compared to 5.6 percent the previous year. Apple devices accounted for 10.2 percent of this traffic (iPhone 5.4 percent and iPad 4.8 percent), Android came in third at 4.1 percent.

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