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Business - Written by on Wednesday, November 28, 2007 15:42 - 0 Comments

Naumi Haque
Cyber Monday(s): A boon for online retailers; maybe not so good for office productivity

Cyber Monday is the somewhat controversial term used by retailers and shoppers to describe the Monday after the U.S. Thanksgiving weekend (November 26th this year). It marks the “official” start to the online holiday shopping season; the online equivalent of brick-and-mortar retailers’ Black Friday (i.e. the day of bargain shopping that supposedly pushes many retailers to profitability for the year). However, many detractors say the whole concept of Cyber Mondays (which was started in 2005 by Shop.org) is a scam – a marketing ploy invented by the online retail industry to drum up sales. Why the Monday after Thanksgiving? According to DoubleClick:

“Most offline holiday shopping happens on the weekends, but not everyone buys in the stores; many go online Monday to purchase what they did not find over the weekend, price-check with competitors, and pursue deep online discounts and deals.”

So, is Cyber Monday a self-fulfilling prophesy driven by online promotions and discounts, or a behavioural-driven shopping trend? Recent data from DoubleClick shows that it’s both. In fact, the term Cyber Mondays (plural) might be more appropriate. As the chart below demonstrates, there is a clear spike in online shopping the first Monday after Thanksgiving; however, the trend of Monday shopping persists throughout the holiday season. According to Hitwise CEO Andrew Walsh, Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. is the biggest day for research online and the second week of December is the biggest week for shopping online.


The online shopping blitzes on Mondays might also mean the “bored at work generation” have something other than Facebook to check when they get to the office Monday morning. A recent survey conducted by Decision Analyst found that 46% of workers in the U.S. were expecting to shop for online bargains while at work on Cyber Monday. Further, those surveyed admitted they would spend nearly an hour (on average) shopping online instead of working… or maybe while working; fully 13% admitted to shopping online while on a conference call.

According to Shop.org, 55% of workers with Internet access will shop online while at work this holiday season, up from 51% in 2006. The trend is most prevalent among 18 to 24 year-olds, 72% of whom admitted to shopping online from work last year. Overall, comScore reports that online holiday shopping is up in 2007, despite a slightly weaker economy. Online retail spending in the U.S. hit $733 million on the first Cyber Monday of 2007, a 21% increase compared to last year, and an 84% increase compared to the average daily sales volume during the preceding four weeks. On the whole, comScore expects $29.5 billion will be spent online this holiday shopping season, up 20% from last year.

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