A Christmas Creep Leap: Target Holds Cyber Monday Sale Today

Cyber Monday

Online shoppers, the moment you've been waiting for is here: Today is Cyber Monday.

No, you didn't fall into a coma and wake up in December -- it's still September. But Target (TGT) has decided that this is a good a time as any to hold Cyber Monday. The retailer blasted out an email to subscribers this morning declaring that today is "Cyber Monday in September."

The sale includes a few item-specific deals, as well as an offer for a free $10 gift card when you spend $75 or more. So the promotion falls well short of the deals that you'd normally find on the real Cyber Monday (which this year, thanks to a late Thanksgiving, will take place on Dec. 2). But it's clear that the real goal here isn't to offer blowout pricing -- it just wants to get shoppers thinking about the holidays (and shopping for gifts) as early as possible.

The company has shown a willingness to push the limits on the holiday season before -- last year it took some heat for making its store associates work on Thanksgiving in an attempt to get a leg-up on the Black Friday competition. This stunt isn't likely to spark the same level of controversy, but we do expect that some consumers are going to roll their eyes at Target arbitrarily declaring a Monday in September "Cyber Monday."

But Target isn't alone in promoting holiday shopping way ahead of schedule. Jon Lal of BeFrugal.com says that we've also seen September holiday promotions from Sephora and Pottery Barn. And earlier this month we reported that Toys R Us has already starting running promotions geared toward getting people to buy presents in September. Retailers have numerous reasons for wanting to get a head-start on the holiday shopping season, including economic headwinds and a shorter-than-usual Thanksgiving-to-Christmas time period.

Still, what makes sense for businesses doesn't necessarily make sense for consumers.

"Obviously, from a retailer's perspective they want to get a jump on the holiday season, because they're competing for consumers' dollars," says Lal. "But from a consumer's point of view, it's important that you have a plan for what you're gonna do around holiday shopping... and when you start shopping early, it's a little harder to stick to a plan and keep track of what you've spent."

Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at Matt.Brownell@teamaol.com, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.

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I use non-expiring gift cretificates (cash that way they can truly have a very merry xmas and i don't have to fight people to get gifts at the wrong time of the year.If you want my money you have to kiss my families a$$ AFTER xmas.

September 30 2013 at 9:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to STAN's comment

i will be doing the same thing scew the greed

October 01 2013 at 12:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is NOT what Christmas is about but I guess most people don't give a crap about it anymore! Thanks libs!!

September 30 2013 at 7:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I really, really hate what Black Friday has become. It was much nicer when ALL stores closed early Wednesday, remained closed on Thanksgiving and did not open until 7am Friday. It was a time when getting in line an hour or two early ensured you would be among the first in line for the deals. And instead of giving away five iPads to the patrons, stores would give away 1,000 freebie packs which included a shopping bag, ornament, a granola bar or other snack, a couple of coupons, and some real, usable samples like toothpaste, floss, mouthwash, and mints. You could pop in, get your shopping done within an hour, and be assured of a good deal on SOMETHING even if you came midday. Honestly, I used to look forward to Black Friday every year. Nowadays, though, I stay strictly away from the insanity.

September 30 2013 at 5:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to pwanless's comment

it would seem that the big box discounters have the sheeple programed

October 01 2013 at 12:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

First i like to say i do not like or buy from Target ! I understand why the are starting earlier ,The Obama administration is unable to bring us out of recession . Now with Obama care ,and the cost of this , RETAIL IS SUFFERING !

September 30 2013 at 4:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply