Branded shopping days clutter the week that starts on Thanksgiving eve. With so many gimmicks, what’s the value of each one?
Branded shopping days clutter the week that starts on Thanksgiving eve. With so many gimmicks, what’s the value of each one? - 
Listen To The Story

As you’ve probably heard ad nauseum, today is Cyber Monday, the day we’re all supposed spend our money online -- presumably after we shopped ‘til we dropped on Black Friday. comScore estimates we’ll spend a record $1.5 billion online today. And, don’t forget about Small Business Saturday and the new kid on the block: Giving Tuesday.

What’s in a name?

“It is getting a little out of hand, I think,” says linguist Ben Zimmer. 

He says this has become the Holy Week of shopping.

“Ash Wednesday starting lent, and then Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday. So, perhaps consumerism, as our new religion, is mimicking that to some extent,” he says. 

But are these shopping days losing their punch? Already, we’re seeing retailers try to one-up each other. Cyber Monday has become Cyber Week. Black Friday started on Thursday.

“So, the concept of a specific day when people are supposed to do this is irrelevant,” says Peter Shankman, a branding expert. 

comScore estimates online retailers will sell just about 25 percent more today than on an average Monday during the holidays. Analysts say sometimes these branded days just focus spending that would have happened anyway.

That hasn’t stopped nonprofits from getting into the act. Giving Tuesday encourages people to give back after they’re shopped out.

“There are two days that are good for the economy, or maybe there’s three days that are good for the economy,” says Sol Adler of the 92nd St Y in New York, which led the effort. 

“And, there’s one day that’s good for the soul, and that’s Giving Tuesday,” he says. 

While the other guys are offering free shipping or doorbuster sales, only Giving Tuesday can get you a tax deduction.

“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a nonprofit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions or just encouraged you to think differently, we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.