As we gear up to feast with family and friends this Thanksgiving, we prepare our wallets for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Black Friday and Cyber Monday have practically become holidays themselves, as each year, they immediately shift our attention from turkey and pumpkin pie to holiday shopping. Let’s look at these two holidays and how their popularity can impact users’ online security, and grab a great Black Friday holiday deal from McAfee.
About the Black Friday Shopping Phenomenon
You might be surprised that “Black Friday” was first associated with a financial crisis, not sales shopping. The U.S. gold market crashed on Friday, September 24, 1869, leaving Wall Street bankrupt. In the 1950s, Black Friday was associated with holiday shopping when large crowds of tourists and shoppers flocked to Philadelphia for a big football game. Because of all the chaos, traffic jams, and shoplifting opportunities that arose, police officers could not take the day off, coining it Black Friday. It wasn’t until over 50 years later that Cyber Monday came to fruition when Shop.org coined the term as a way for online retailers to participate in the Black Friday shopping frenzy.
In conclusion, the origins of “Black Friday” are indeed surprising and far removed from the image of holiday shopping extravaganzas that we associate with the term today. These historical roots offer a fascinating perspective on the evolution of consumer culture and the significance of these shopping events in modern times.
Growth Over the Years
Since the origination of these two massive shopping holidays, both have seen incredible growth. Global interest in Black Friday has risen year-over-year, with 117% average growth across the last five years. According to Forbes, 2018’s Black Friday brought in $6.2 billion in online sales alone, while Cyber Monday brought in a record $7.9 billion.
While foot traffic seemed to decrease at brick-and-mortar stores during Cyber Week 2018, more shoppers turned their attention to the Internet to participate in holiday bargain hunting. Throughout this week, sales derived from desktop devices came in at 47%, while mobile purchases made up 45% of revenue and tablet purchases made up 8% of revenue.
So, what does this mean for Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping this holiday season? In 2023, Adobe Analytics anticipates that Cyber Monday will maintain its status as the most significant shopping day of the season and the year, spurring a historic $12 billion in spending, reflecting a year-over-year increase of 6.1%. Online sales on Black Friday are expected to increase by 5.7% year over year, reaching $9.6 billion, while Thanksgiving is projected to grow by 5.5% year over year, amounting to $5.6 billion in spending.
If one thing’s for sure, this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are shaping up to be the biggest ones for shoppers looking to snag some seasonal bargains. However, the uptick in online shopping activity provides cybercriminals the perfect opportunity to wreak havoc on users’ holiday fun, potentially disrupting users’ festive experiences and compromising their online security. In light of this, it is crucial to take proactive measures to safeguard your digital presence. One effective way to do so is by investing in top-tier online protection solutions. McAfee, a renowned leader in the field, offers award-winning cybersecurity solutions designed to shield you from the ever-evolving threats in the digital landscape. Explore the features of our McAfee+ Ultimate and Total Protection and be informed of the latest cyber threats with McAfee Labs.
Spot Those Black Friday and Cyber Monday Shopping Scams
With the surge in online shopping during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, cybercriminals are also on high alert, crafting sophisticated scams to trick unsuspecting shoppers. One common form of scam you’ll come across during this time is fraudulent websites. These sites masquerade as reputable online retailers, luring customers with too-good-to-be-true deals. Once shoppers enter their personal and financial data, the criminals behind these sites gain access to the sensitive information, paving the way for identity theft.
Phishing emails are another popular mode of scam during these shopping holidays. Shoppers receive emails that appear to be from legitimate stores advertising incredible deals. The emails typically contain links that direct users to a fraudulent website where their information can be stolen. It’s essential to approach every email suspiciously, checking the sender’s information and avoiding clicking on unsolicited links.
→ Dig Deeper: How to Protect Yourself From Phishing Scams
How to Protect Yourself from These Scams
Thankfully, there are steps you can take to protect yourself when shopping online during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. First, always ensure that the website you’re shopping from is legitimate. Check for the padlock icon in the address bar and “https” in the URL, as these are indicators of a secure site. Steer clear of websites that lack these security features or have misspelled domain names, as they could be fraudulent.
McAfee Pro Tip: When browsing a website, there are several essential cues to consider when assessing its safety. As mentioned, one such indicator is the presence of “https” in the website’s URL. But there are also other tell-tale signs, such as fake lock icons, web copy, web speed, and more. Know how to tell whether a website is safe.
Furthermore, never provide personal or financial information in response to an unsolicited email, even if it appears to be from a trusted source. If the offer seems tempting, visit the retailer’s official website and check if the same deal is available there. Finally, consider installing a reputable antivirus and security software, like McAfee, that can provide real-time protection and alert you when you stumble upon a malicious website or receive a phishing email.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are prime opportunities for consumers to snag once-a-year deals and for cybercriminals to exploit their eagerness to save. However, being aware of the prevalent scams and knowing how to protect yourself can save you from falling prey to these ploys. Always strive to shop smart and stay safe, and remember that if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.
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