You may be reading this right now and thinking to yourself, “What? Cyber Monday? It’s only the beginning of October! Isn’t that like two months from now?” Well, yeah, maybe. But since Christmas sales now start roughly sometime around Labor Day, it’s probably not too early to start thinking and planning for this year’s Cyber Monday.
Or maybe you’re wondering what exactly Cyber Monday is, in which case, hello, person who attempted to avoid the Y2K bug in their underground bunker and is just now rejoining society! Welcome to the exciting year of 2013, and now let’s tell you all about this Cyber Monday thing. For decades, the day after Thanksgiving has been dubbed Black Friday, and it is annually regarded as the first day of Christmas shopping, and the day that many major retailers have their biggest sales. As such, many consumers wait in long lines for hours at a time waiting for the physical stores to open their doors, at which point they swamp the aisles and consume as many consumables as they are physically capable of doing.
In 2005, Cyber Monday was established as the equal and opposite reaction to Black Friday. It takes place on the Monday following Black Friday, and it is a day where retailers instead offer all of their best deals online, as opposed to at their retail locations. In 2010, Cyber Monday sales hit a record $1 billion, with reported increases of 31% in year-over-year search advertising budgets, 83% in online sales transactions, and 60% in total online sales revenue over the year before. Cyber Monday 2011 was the biggest U.S. online spending day in history (until 2012), with sales 154% higher than on any other Monday of that year and 17% more than Black Friday 2011. Essentially, Cyber Monday is big, and manages to get bigger every year in spite of a continuously sluggish economy.
On Cyber Monday 2012, which featured a 30.3% sales increase over 2011, data showed that shopping momentum hit its highest peak at approximately 11:25am EST. As in the previous year, consumer shopping maintained its strong momentum following commuting hours on both the east and west coasts. More than 18 percent of consumers used a mobile device to access retailers’ websites, which was an increase of more than 70% over 2011. Mobile sales grew to close to 13%, with the iPad driving the most traffic of any other mobile device at 7%. This was followed by the iPhone at 6.9% and Android devices at 6.9%.
Half of all Cyber Monday shopping is done at work, which might be a troubling statistic for employers, but in Cyber Monday’s defense compared to Black Friday, at least your employees can still be at work at all. In fact, in most comparisons between Cyber Monday and Black Friday, it is becoming clearer that Cyber Monday is becoming the preferred shopping day. According to a survey by PriceGrabber.com, when asked when they planned to do their shopping on Thanksgiving weekend, 41% of surveyed consumers said Cyber Monday, up from 37% in 2011 and 33% in 2010. When asked whether they planned to shop more on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, 58% cited Cyber Monday.
This year, Cyber Monday is poised to make even further gains.
So now that you know the ghosts of Cyber Monday Past and Present, what of its Future? Well, the data certainly points towards this year’s Cyber Monday continuing to grow, bringing with it more online consumers and even more online revenue. If you own or operate a business, you would be well-suited to prepare for its continuing growth by planning your own Cyber Monday sales and promotions. Alternately, as a consumer, as Cyber Monday becomes more prevalent in the nation’s business environment, you can expect bigger and better offers, all made available at the comfort of your own sofa. News footage of Black Friday mobs and rioting may soon be a thing of the past, replaced by satisfied customers at their own homes with their tablets. Which, while certainly less entertaining, would still go a lot further towards improving Christmas spirit during the holidays. And that’s something we can all be jolly about.
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