Online Consumers Gear Up For 'Cyber Monday'
An ever-increasing number of American shoppers are opting out of camping out in the cold for days waiting for big holiday sales on Black Friday, instead opting into shopping on the Internet from home, where it's warm and comfy and no one cares if you're wearing your favorite jammies.
In 2005, the website Shop.org coined the term "Cyber Monday" for the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday, and hyped it as the busiest online shopping day of the year.
Since then, "Cyber Monday has been the kickoff to the heavy portion of the online holiday shopping season," said Andrew Lipsman, vice president of industry analysis for Comscore, Inc., a global leader in digital business analytics. "It's typically when we see a big spike in activity, and then that heavy spending continues over the next two to three weeks, into about mid-December."
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But hype aside, Cyber Monday was not the biggest day for cyber retailers — until last year.
"For a long time there was actually a misconception that Cyber Monday was the heaviest online shopping day of the season, and that wasn't the case," Lipsman said. "It ended up usually being the eighth- or the tenth-busiest online shopping day. But we've actually seen Cyber Monday increase in importance over the last couple of years, and in fact in 2010, it was the heaviest online shopping day of the year. There was over $1 billion in online sales, and that was the first time on record we saw the $1 billion threshhold eclipsed."
Retailers have certainly embraced the Cyber Monday concept as a creative marketing tool; scores of major retailers are offering special deals this year that shoppers will only find online.
As the economy slowly improves and consumers dig a little deeper this year, projections for Cyber Monday purchases on Nov. 28 are greater than 2010. "We're anticipating there will be about $1.2 billion in spending, so we are expecting a nice growth rate over last year," Lipsman said.
Will Cyber Monday be the heaviest online shopping day again in 2011?
"I don't know if it will be the heaviest, but we do expect it to be among the top three, and it certainly could end up being the heaviest day of the year," Lipsman said.