Business as usual: Students shopping online in university classrooms break cyber monday records



Lexi Nahl


The National Retail Federation expects combined retail sales in November and December to increase by 3.6 percent, bringing the total number spent for the 2016 holiday season to a whopping $655.8 billion. Retailers are also expected to match last year’s employee growth rates, and internet sales are also expected rise by as much as 10 percent.  

This year’s record sales on Cyber Monday results bolster this expectation and will probably account for a significant portion of overall internet sales this season. According to expert analysts, this year’s Cyber Monday holiday topped analyst estimates and comprised the largest day in the history of U.S. e-commerce. Consumers spent $3.45 billion on Monday, Nov. 28 alone, Adobe Digital Insights reports.

Millions of online shoppers reported shopping remotely from their homes and from work. Many University students reported the same trends, with one (somewhat) surprising addition: the classroom.

“My teacher might have seen me shopping for Christmas presents,” Katelyn Junker ’18, a frequent online shopper remarked. Junker explains that it is tempting to shop online, even in the classroom because “the teacher can’t see what you’re doing and it makes it seem like you’re doing something productive in class. Also, if I can’t pay attention it helps the time go faster.” 

Though Junker is one of the only students interviewed willing to admit to partaking in the trend, she is clearly not alone. 

“In my many classes that have over 20 students in them, whenever I look around the room I can see at least five people actively online shopping with tabs open,” Gabriella Mouradian 17, remarked. Another student, Mimi Devita ‘18, called the practice a “slippery slope.”

Similarly, Kristan Coppola ‘17, believes these experiences to be somewhat universally shared. “In one of my classes the other day we were discussing the impact of technology in the classroom and even during this discussion I could see three people mindlessly browsing clothing sites,” Coppola said.  

However, most Americans were not browsing these clothing sites during their seminars. Instead, sites Wal-Mart, Target, and Kohl’s each broke records and analyst estimates for digital sales on the 28th. However, some University students reported shopping at more off-beat online retailers than these.   

Allie Carroll ‘17, frequents the online retailer of homemade goods, Etsy, because she can find “cute original things.” She reported purchasing novelty items like an Audrey Hepburn costume on the site, though she assures us she did so in the comfort of her own home.