The Evolution of Cyber Monday

The Beginning

In just two weeks everyone’s favorite holiday will finally be here. And no I’m not talking about Thanksgiving, I’m talking about Black Friday.

The term “Black Friday” was first used in 1975 to describe the day after Thanksgiving, which was the busiest shopping and traffic day of the year. The day after Thanksgiving was considered the start of Christmas season and because of the four-day weekend it became a day for people to start their Christmas shopping.

However, the purpose of Back Friday has clearly evolved. The primary focus has gone from getting a start on Christmas shopping to getting good deals. Stores have began opening early in the morning (and sometimes even on Thanksgiving day) and offering extremely attractive deals. It has become tradition for shoppers to wait in lines outside for hours and then physically fight for products.


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This all seems pretty unattractive. But for many it’s worth it for the potential savings.

But now there’s a way to get these deals and not have to worry about getting trampled or punched in the face. And that is Cyber Monday.

Marketing departments created Cyber Monday in an attempt to persuade customers to shop online. Although the Monday after Thanksgiving had always been a day with increased sales it wasn’t really recognized until 2005.

Cyber Monday quickly became the most popular day to shop. Sales have surpassed those on Black Friday and are growing at a faster rate.

Fortune reported that in Cyber Monday in 2016 was the biggest day in the history of U.S. e-commerce. On this day, online sales totaled $3.45 billion, a 12.1% jump from Cyber Monday in 2015.

What makes these numbers even more impressive is that sales have been diluted across several days. It has turned into more of a “Cyber Week,” as many retailers offer their online deals beginning on Black Friday and lasting through Tuesday and Wednesday.

Cyber Monday and Technology  

Cyber Monday was originally created in order to exploit retailer’s online platforms. As the popularity of Cyber Monday has grown, businesses have created new features that will enhance the consumer experience and encourage sales.

Mobile shopping has proven to be a must-have feature for retailers if they want to be able to compete. Although retailers didn’t create their mobile platforms solely for Cyber Monday, apps have accounted for a large percentage of traffic and sales. In 2015, smartphones accounted for 37% of Cyber Monday traffic to online retailers and in 2016 mobile shopping accounted for 31% of sales. These numbers have validated the efforts and resources that retailers, such as Target, Walmart, and Kohl’s, have put into their mobile apps.


Websites, such as, have been created to help consumers find the best deals between several different stores. This website features ads that have been “leaked” featuring Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals at Target, Walmart, Best Buy, and several other stores. The website also provides consumers with store hours and a list of “hot items” that compares the prices at every store, both in person and online. This website, among several others like it, appeal to consumers using convenience and ease of use to encourage them to shop on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. (If you’re interested, there are already deals posted for 2017!)

Many stores, but most notably Amazon, do a great job of building anticipation by slowly announcing deals on their website in the weeks prior to Thanksgiving. In addition to these announcements, Forbes analysts have been able to create models that predict Amazon’s deals. These models have use historical and insider information and are extremely accurate. The model that was created by Gordon Kelly for 2017 has already correctly predicted the prices for the Amazon Echo Plus, the Kindle Paperwhite E-Reader, and three other products that have been confirmed by Amazon. There are currently eight more products that have yet to be confirmed. The announcement of deals early in the month and the predicted deals creates more knowledge of these deals and allows for customers to be thinking about these products for weeks. Amazon hopes that the longer customers think about the product the more they will want to buy it, leading to more sales.

Cyber Monday was ultimately a modern day adaptation of Black Friday that was supposed to help online retailers do more business. The increasing presence of online platforms made Cyber Monday possible. Retailers are currently doing everything they can to capitalize off of the growing success of Cyber Monday. This includes creating better online and mobile platforms, creating websites that make finding deals easier for consumers, and rolling out deals in a way that maximizes customer attention.



  1. Sheritta Coleburn · ·

    Great post! Thanks for the insight on I had no clue about this website and as a Black Friday shopper this is much needed. I have realized that Amazon does do a great job with announcing their Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals weeks in advance so shoppers are able to plan out their purchases. I think stores should do this, it would just make my life easier. :)

  2. fernanfu89 · ·

    Really interesting article. I find it quite amusing that years behind, people usually shopped closer to Christmas, but as competition has increased over the years it has moved more towards black friday and cybermonday. Today its incredible that we are now seeing pre black friday deals even like a month prior to the real date. Also, something impressive is that alibaba singles day, which is the chinese version of black friday, doubled in sales that of cyber monday and black friday in the US last year

  3. It has been amazing see holiday shopping start earlier and earlier every year! Your post reminded me of an article that I read recently that was talking about how many retailers are actually choosing to close their stores for Black Friday. These firms are realizing that, not only is Black Friday a bit of nightmare, but they don’t need to be open get the desired number of sales they are after. I think a big part of this is because of developments / increased popularity of Cyber Monday.

  4. Really interesting post! I can’t believe how many shoppers use mobile apps to shop, but I guess as companies develop their apps to have better user interface it makes sense that they’re growing share. I wonder if the deals “leaked” and posted on are truly leaked, or if stores intentionally release their deals to get themselves high up on consumers’ shopping lists and create early excitement, as Amazon is doing. It’s interesting that the growth of Cyber Monday sales has been so steep. Do you think it’s cannibalizing Black Friday sales or the total revenue is increasing this dramatically? I am curious how long this growth will continue and if that 12% could be matched this year.

  5. clairemmarvin · ·

    Who doesn’t love Cyber Monday? While both my mom and I love shopping she is adamantly against partaking in the Black Friday sales frenzies and never let me go shopping on those days growing up. Cyber Monday, however has become a bit of a tradition in our house: we can get the best deals from the safety of our living room and don’t have to dodge soccer moms armed with mace in the middle of a Best-Buy frenzy. I wonder if Cyber Monday will eventually expand beyond just one day into a whole week with its rising popularity?

  6. I grasp companies moving to online sources to sell products for the holidays. I am just amazed at that the deals they have online are even better then the ones in stores. Seems like they are trying to lead people to the computer and away from the store with this tactic. I’m usually a last minute shopper so I never use these things. I usually buy so late that I can’t even rely on Amazon delivery.

  7. This time of year its always funny to remember that “cyber Monday” was originally created because it was the first day people were back at work after Black Friday…so they had access to good internet and desktop computers. My how times have changed!

  8. ojeagle121 · ·

    As other people have said, it will be interesting to see how far the cyber Monday growth will go. I’d also be interested to see the demographics associated with it. I would assume that young and more affluent people are moving towards cyber Monday but who knows. I know I can’t stand black Friday and all those crowds and I’m much happier shopping online.

  9. Really interesting post! It’s interesting to think about how what started out as regular sales became all day events with people even having to work on Thanksgiving in preparation, all the way to today’s days of sales. I love the way others have been able to leverage this, with Giving Tuesday even raising $168M last year. It’s great to see the ways it’s grown – crazy to imagine how marketers will evolve (and what will stalk me on my Facebook for weeks) as the Cyber Monday phenomenon grows even more.

  10. maririera19 · ·

    Really good post! Its cool that the increase popularity in Cyber Monday and the decrease popularity in Black Friday is following the overall retail market trend of transitioning from physical commerce to e-commerce. Wonder if one day we will just avoid the whole Black Friday hassle and just enjoy Cyber Week from the comfort and safety of our homes.

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