Cyber Monday vs. Black Friday

We've all heard about "Black Friday", the Friday after Thanksgiving when shoppers still reeling from the effects of tryptophan wrench themselves out of bed at 6 A.M. to catch holiday shopping bargains. But what about "Cyber Monday"? This new term applies to the Monday after Thanksgiving when consumers return to work to take advantage of shopping online with fast broadband connections. Generally, 58 percent of all online shopping is done in the workplace, but 88 percent of Cyber Monday shoppers made purchases from the office.

This year's Cyber Monday sales totaled $687 million, up from $484 million last year. So, although Black Friday's storefront shoppers have slacked by about one million consumers since last year, Cyber Monday welcomed two million more shoppers to the Web this season.

Of course, consumer confidence plays a role in the success of shopping, too. Wal-Mart's early November sales were down by 0.1 percent, which led some retailers to fear a potential slack in sales for the rest of the year. However, Cyber Monday gave its fifth biggest take of the year, proving that the Monday after Thanksgiving is becoming just as popular for shoppers as Black Friday.

Interestingly, December 11 is predicted to be the biggest spending day for online holiday shoppers this year. My guess is that date will give consumers just enough time to have something shipped and wrapped by the 25th. As for me — I'm going online this year. I'd rather spend my off-hours strolling leisurely past Bloomingdale's on my way to the park.

Do you think that consumers' shopping habits are evolving? Are consumers more likely to purchase something online at work than braving the storefront crowds? Or do you think that consumers will opt to jostle for position outside the nearest bargain basement and help retailers meet in-store sales predictions for this year?

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  • Colleen

    Retailers are trying to make the rest of December black too - I just posted an Office Depot coupon on my site - good for 15% off - that's a great deal! I think retailers want to keep their momentum going.

  • Joe

    Dead on arrival news. I would ask if the media had nothing better to report but...

  • Matt Mendolera

    What came first, the chicken or the egg? Cyber Monday is only getting bigger because of two reasons: 1) because marketers are hyping it and posting "Cyber Monday" deals/sales and 2) because e-commerce as a whole is growing, and the weekend after Thanksgiving is the true start of the holiday shopping season.

    As for the Monday after Thanksgiving being the holy grail of online sales--it isn't. There are different challenges online vs. in-store, and big one-day sale promos work better for driving in-store traffic. Online, the concern isn't getting all the traffic--it's getting customers to find what they want, consider additional items, and come back again and again.

    Disclaimer: I do work with ATG, the top e-commerce software vendor for retailers like JCrew, Nieman Marcus, AE, Nike, Louis Vuitton, and more.

  • Michelle

    I jostled for position Friday morning at 4:00 AM. Would you believe that someone in the front of the line had a screaming child with them? Have you ever been to one of these things? They're dangerous.

    Though the day ended up warm it was still cold enough to don thermal socks and two layers of clothing. Not fun. Then on Monday I discover an item that I paid $30 for on Friday was on sale for $19 online. Bah humbug!

    But then there is the knowledge that if you do jockey for position early enough you stand a chance to get what you came for but if you go online and the traffic is too much to handle you may just end up wasting your time and missing out of the bargain to boot!