What Is Cyber Monday?

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Cyber Monday, which takes place on the Monday following Thanksgiving each year, is the official beginning of the online holiday shopping season. On Cyber Monday, also referred to as Black Monday, online retailers offer sales, promotions, and discounts. Brick-and-mortar retailers also participate in Cyber Monday by offering special, online only, sales and promotions.

The term Cyber Monday was first coined in 2005 by Ellen Davis and Scott Silverman, two employees of Shop.org, an online branch of the National Retail Federation, a trade association. The association had noticed that for several years prior to 2005, online retail sales increased dramatically on the Monday following Thanksgiving. The term Cyber Monday first appeared in a press release by Shop.org titled “Cyber Monday Quickly Becoming One of the Biggest Online Shopping Days of the Year.”

This online shopping trend was attributed to several factors. One was that online shopping had become more convenient, especially contrasted with the experience of shopping during Black Friday promotions at brick-and-mortar retailers. Another was that consumers were increasingly choosing to wait to make large purchases until they returned to work on Monday, where, at the time, most shoppers had access to a faster internet connection than at home.

Retailers capitalized on the invention of the new term to introduce more sales and promotions on the Monday following Thanksgiving, and consumers began taking advantage of these online promotions. Total sales on Cyber Monday have increased substantially each year since the term was invented in 2005.

Finding Deals
Retailers that routinely offer Cyber Monday deals are Best Buy, Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Macy’s. Cyber Monday promotions are also common among smaller boutique or local retailers who can’t afford to compete with larger, more established companies. While Black Friday tends to attract more customers looking for deals on electronics, such as phones, laptops, televisions, and speakers, Cyber Monday shoppers generally take advantage of more deals and promotions on clothing items and accessories. There is usually a high amount of competition between retailers to offer the best Cyber Monday deals and promotions.

Consumers looking to take advantage of Cyber Monday promotions can find the best deals by conducting research prior to buying. The majority of retailers offering deals promote them ahead of time, making it simple for shoppers to make purchase decisions before Cyber Monday. Shoppers can increase their savings by purchasing from retailers offering free shipping, searching for additional deals on retailers’ social media accounts, and using multiple coupons or promotion codes at a single retailer while shopping on Cyber Monday.

Around the World
While Cyber Monday began in the U.S., it has since spread to other countries. Canadian retailers began offering Cyber Monday deals in 2008 in order to prevent Canadian citizens from conducting a large portion of their holiday shopping in the United States. In 2011, upwards of 80% of Canadians participated in Cyber Monday.

Countries such as Japan and Germany have partnered with Amazon to offer their own Cyber Monday events. In 2012, Japan and Amazon hosted an e-commerce event called the Cyber Monday Seven Day Sale that lasted from Dec. 10 to Dec. 16. Amazon.de began offering Cyber Monday sales in Germany in 2010, and has since expanded the sale into an 8 day e-commerce event beginning on the Monday prior to Thanksgiving.

Some countries have taken the concept of a day designated specifically for e-commerce promotion and established it under a different name. In 2012, India partnered with Google and a number of e-commerce companies to run a promotional event called the Great Online Shopping Festival, which has not since been repeated. Australia held a similar event called Click Frenzy in Nov. 2012.