Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday

Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday

I do not go out on Black Friday. That’s not to say I do not like the idea of Christmas shopping; I just prefer to shop when everyone else isn’t. And I also appreciate the advent of online shopping. It’s great to be able to find that one present your daughter asked for in a matter of minutes and have it delivered to your door. So which is more sustainable?

It’s all in how you define sustainability. And we all know that there are multiple definitions. If you are talking strictly about carbon footprint, there are a few studies out there that calculate a more sustainable shopping experience online. These tend to be a little dated, and with new, more sustainable shipping variations, I’m not sure that the old carbon footprint assumptions apply. If I buy three items from Amazon at the same time, and they are shipped from the same warehouse in the same box, that is more sustainable than if they are being sourced from three different stores in three different boxes. But what if I have to return something?

Also, I still have to buy wrapping paper, so if I am going to the store for that anyway, shouldn’t I just head over to the store and buy gifts during the same trip?

On the other hand, buying local can be very sustainable. And the Saturday following Black Friday is Small Business Saturday, an event started by American Express to help support small businesses, many of which produce and sell locally.

But while it would seem obvious that locally produced food would be more sustainable than food items shipped, other products may not be so cut and dry. Does the local business sell a product completely created in its area, or are materials shipped from far locations? We know many major retailers have embraced energy efficiency and supply chain sustainability, but do we know that about a local store?

What I do know is that there are many traditional brick and mortar stores that embrace both events. As an example, Kohl’s announced special deals for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

So while the pessimist might say they are playing both sides of the street, the optimist may look at it as serving the needs of two different markets: It offers traditional experiences AND provides the opportunity for the sustainably minded to select the option they feel is most sustainable.

Whatever you select, I wish you a happy holiday season.

About the Author

Jim Lyza

Jim Lyza

Jim is a former contributor to Shelton Insights.

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Suzanne Shelton

President and CEO

Suzanne is the voice and the vision of Shelton Group. Drawing on her extensive experience in energy and the environment – and 25+ years in the marketing and advertising industry – Suzanne provides high-level strategic insights for our clients and guidance for our research and creative departments. She regularly speaks at conferences around the country, including Sustainable Brands, Fortune Brainstorm E and the International Builders’ Show, and serves as a guest columnist for publications like Fast Company, Green Builder and GreenBiz.com.

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Mike joined our team to help provide strategic vision and foster our agency’s growth by overseeing new business leads and managing agency marketing and website content. He arrived in Knoxville steeped in energy efficiency and renewables – he previously led client service for an agency division in Boston dedicated to marketing communications strategy and branding for B2B and B2C clients in that space.