The Rapid Evolution of Cyber Monday


Cyber Monday Inbox

My inbox was full of Cyber Monday reminders today.

The idea of “Cyber Monday” as a sales event has proven in just eight short years to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. When it began in 2005 – at least that’s when the term was coined after online retailers noticed a spike in online sales on the Monday following Thanksgiving – there were 9 other days of the year that saw greater online purchases. Still, the growing event inspired  great sale prices, giveaways and free shipping. As the catchy name and phenomenon caught on among retailers creating a double whammy with the already successful Black Friday marketing push, the event has now finally lived up to its name by becoming the #1 online shopping day of the year. Sales are estimated to hit in the area of $2 billion for 2013.

While the concept of Cyber Monday has now lived up to its name, the phenomenon is still changing. Below are a few significant ways:

  • Cyber Monday is becoming Cyber Week: Why limit such an effective promotion event to just one day, when shoppers will be selecting their purchases for the holiday season online for several more weeks? Retailers are catching on that the windfall of a Cyber Monday need not be limited to one day of bargains.
  • The line blurs between Online and Brick & Mortar: Most brick and mortar retailers are now online as well, becoming increasingly savvy and profitable with their online business. The idea of Cyber Monday being a profit-maker for just the online-only retailers like Amazon is a thing of the past. Integrated marketing now connects in-store and online specials in increasingly creative ways.
  • High speed internet changes things:  Why did the Monday following Thanksgiving originally show such a spike in online sales? Because people came to work to do their shopping! Back in 2005 and before, most homes had slower dial-up internet connections so folks waited until work resumed to order online. Also, the workplace afforded the privacy away from family members to do their shopping. Today, with high speed internet everywhere and the prevalence of smart phones, waiting for a workday to shop makes less sense.
  • It’s not just for the big players anymore: Small businesses are coming into their own online, with the ability to offer specials and promotions through their interactive e-commerce websites. The large sales figures for online shopping no longer need to be just the windfall of the large corporate retailers.

Here’s a link to a great infographic on the history of Cyber Monday.



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