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November 25, 2012

Welcome to Cyber Monday

It’s an online feeding frenzy. It’s Cyber Monday.

What exactly is Cyber Monday and how did it come to be? By definition, Cyber Monday is a relatively new “holiday”. In the digital age in which we now live, not everyone chooses to subject themselves to the chaos of Black Friday (or is Black Thursday and ½ given the newest trend of late Thanksgiving openings—BTW, did we really need that?)

According to Wikipedia here’s the definition and short history of Cyber Monday:

The term “Cyber Monday” is a neologism invented by Shop.org. It was first used within the ecommerce community during the 2005 holiday season. According to Scott Silverman, the head of Shop.org, the term was coined based on 2004 research showing “one of the biggest online shopping days of the year” was the Monday after Thanksgiving (12th-biggest day historically). Retailers also noted the biggest period was December 5 through 15 of the previous year.  In late November 2005, the New York Times reported that “The name Cyber Monday grew out of the observation that millions of otherwise productive working Americans, fresh off a Thanksgiving weekend of window shopping, were returning to high-speed Internet connections at work Monday and buying what they liked.”

2012 more than ever is becoming Cyber Holidays. What was a novel, cool trend in 2005 is now a significant part of the Holiday retail spending. For the past few years, online holiday sales have increased at a rate far in excess of total sales. According to eMarketer, online sales are projected to increase 17% this holiday season to $54.B, while overall sales will increase roughly 3.5%. According to IBM online sales increased 17% on Thanksgiving and 21% on Black Friday vs. year ago.

Cyber Monday is merely the focal point for the digital holiday sales deluge. It’s now seen as the “official start” of the cyber holiday season. It actually had more importance back in the “early years” (2005-2006) when people would jump on their work computers on Monday morning. It still has symbolism and provides and opportunity to promote online sales, of which roughly $2Billion is projected to be generated on Cyber Monday. But Cyber Monday itself may decreasing in importance. In fact, mega retailer Walmart (which seeks domination of all sales events) has extended Cyber Monday into a new concept, Cyber Week. No doubt, Cyber Month and Cyber Year are close behind.

The trend to online sales is a dramatic trend, as the American public learns new ways to shop. Online sales will approach 10% of all Holiday sales this year and will no doubt increase in years to come. While  old fashioned “analog” shopping (e.g., going to the mall) remains the primary means of holiday shopping, the digital trend has no upper limit. We are becoming an increasingly mobile and educated buying public, and the power of information and ability for a “one click sale” makes online sales increasingly important in 2012 and years to come.

Happy shopping.