The Game Day of Online Shopping is Almost Here

If I had to choose my favorite time of the year, it would have to be the weeks leading up to the holidays.  Yes, this is in part because of the typical fall foliage, increased apple-baked goods, and my favorite food-filled holiday, Thanksgiving. In addition to these aforementioned reasons, however, is an additional “holiday” that has made the last week in November particularly special for me: Cyber Monday.  The quintessential Super Bowl for bargain shoppers, that has given consumers another reason to shop the Monday after  Thanksgiving.


So with the holidays coming up, I decided to look into the power behind Cyber Monday for today’s blog post.  But before I even do that, I can’t help but question.  Who even came up with the idea of Cyber Monday anyway?

The term “Cyber Monday” officially dates back to 2005, when executive director of (a division of the National Retail Federation), Scott Silverman and the Senior Vice President Ellen Davis, used the term to describe the trend in increased online sales that seemed to take place the Monday following Thanksgiving.  While it wasn’t the biggest day for online sales, there definitely was a trend that consumers tend to shop more on the Monday after Thanksgiving.  Based on their research, they concluded that consumers increasingly shopped online the Monday following Thanksgiving due to the lack of internet in people’s homes.  Yes, you read that right. The Monday after Thanksgiving became a popular day for online shopping because of the lack of internet in people’s homes.

While initially this may make you confused, Silverman justified this binary opposition in an interview with the MultiChannel Merchant and it actually makes sense.  In 2000, only 41% of homes had internet access in the United States, whereas today, over 85.1% of individuals have a computer in their homes.  Because of this lack of computer access during the weekend, the first workday of the holiday season had become a popular day for online shopping. This was often the first day of the holiday season that many people could access retailers’ websites.


Still, the amount of buzz that this Monday produced was not enough for the National Retail Federation, who had a vision to grow the ecommerce industry and the impact of the Monday following Thanksgiving to be even greater.  The National Retail Federation did just that, by creating and implementing a marketing campaign surrounded by the excitement and buzz of the Black Friday market.  The NRF promoted online shopping through the concept of Cyber Monday, which promised shoppers special deals if they bought their products online that specific day. On its very first run, the NRF had a commitment from over 43% of online retailers to host promotions throughout that Monday.

On November 28th, 2005 (the Monday following Thanksgiving, and the best day of the year since it is my birthday) this campaign was proven successful, as online retailers reported a huge increase in online traffic from prior years.  For instance, an online jewelry retailer reported an increase in online traffic of over 92%, when compared to the Monday after Thanksgiving in 2004, and 82% increase from the traffic they had received the previous Monday.

Fast forward over 17 years, and the popularity of Cyber Monday has grown exponentially, as individuals’ shopping preferences have shifted away from in-store purchases to online shopping.  This past November, Cyber Monday reached its peak of over $3.45 billion dollars in online sales, representing a 12.1% increase from 2015 and making it the most profitable day in the history of online retail.


What is the major cause of this trend?  With each generation that passes, we are increasingly spending more and more time online, making ecommerce an increasingly popular option amongst consumers. In a study completed by the CMC it was found that on average 67% of millennials shop online, and spend approximately 6 hours on the internet per week.  In comparison, only 41% of baby boomers shop online and spend 4 hours a week online, followed by only 28% of the elderly shop online and spend on average 2.5 hours on the internet per week.  Millennials’ growing dependence on the internet, as well as the convenience of e-commerce, is diminishing the probability of consumers going to a physical store.  While we saw in Taylor’s presentation that retail is very much not dead, online shopping is definitely gaining more prominence.  In a recent study, it was found that shoppers carryout 51% of their purchases online.

Online shopping also saves a considerable amount of time and energy, which makes it very appealing to a busy consumer.  On average, it has been found that over 40% of consumers say that they spend more time shopping than they had anticipated spending when they are shopping in a physical store. (Whereas only 20% say they spend more time shopping than they had expected to when online.)

In addition, if you order online you eliminate the risk of traveling to one store just to find out that they are out of stock of the product you are looking for. Online shopping is simply a win-win.  Even if you go to a website and see that the company is out of stock, there usually is an option to purchase it and have it delivered when it becomes available.  Personally, I would rather shop from the comfort of my own bed, rather than waiting outside for hours in the cold to find out that the store I went to is already sold out of what I wanted.

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So how can you score the best deals this Cyber Monday? Make sure to do your research before the big day, and go in with a plan.  Since many different websites offer hundreds of deals, it’s important to recognize which ones are worth your while.  A company may actually mark up their products in anticipation of Cyber Monday to make you think you’re scoring the best deal.  Also, the products for sale may be the ones that a company is looking to get rid of because they are outdated or of poor quality.

Most importantly, as students of #IS6621, don’t forget the amount of money that companies put into their websites to get you to buy as much as possible on Cyber Monday.  Their goal is to encourage you to buy more.  If you go in with a set plan of what you are looking to buy, you are less likely to fall into their marketing scheme to get you to buy more.  See below for two of Amazon’s random gadgets that you may have fallen for this past Cyber Monday:

Here’s a Vintage Butter Churner.  With over 25% off, it’s definitely the kitchen tool you never knew you needed.


A Home Brewing Root Beer Kit. 38% off is a steal–and anyway, not many can say they have made root beer from scratch.

So with 15 days to go, are you ready to shop?  Here is list of the best companies to buy from this November 27th.








  1. Great post! It is wild to read/see the stats of how the profitability of cyber Monday has increased since 2005– I was blown away by the increase in sales that this day has seen. One thing I have been thinking about as Black Friday/Cyber Monday has approached is the interesting counter that some companies do, in response to the rise in consumerism on these days. For instance, on the radio the other day REI was doing a promo for their #OptOutside event (the third year they are doing this). They actually close their stores on Black Friday, pay their employees for a full day of work, and encourage people to go spend time outside. This is also along the same lines as Giving Tuesday. I like that the rise in online shopping popularity, has also made it easier for brands/companies to encourage other types of spending around the holidays.

  2. briandentonbc · ·

    Really cool post! I found the fact the Cyber Monday started as a result of a lack of internet access to be a really interesting tidbit. You made a really good point about companies marking up their products beforehand in order to offer a really good “deal” once Cyber Monday rolls around. This is a trap that myself and I’m sure many others fall into all the time, and something I’m surprised that there has been limited backlash about. That being said, I’m sure I will be all over Amazon once Cyber Monday rolls around.

  3. sherricheng5 · ·

    Awesome post! As a huge fan of Cyber Monday, it was really interesting to learn about the history behind it. I think the shift toward e-commerce has definitely driven the growth behind Cyber Monday. Also, I would much prefer to shop in the comfort of my home than wait in lines in the cold to get the best deals on Black Friday. I also found your point about being cognisant about company’s marketing tactics to be an important one. Many companies will run campaigns on Cyber Monday to lead you to believe that you are getting a great deal. However, many times, they seem to discount unpopular products or mark up the “original” price. Another thing that would be interesting to explore is the U.S. Cyber Monday trends as compared to the online shopping trends of Alibaba’s Singles’ Day online sales. You can read about it more here:

    In addition, I wonder how companies are going to differentiate themselves on Cyber Monday and e-commerce in general moving forward. Will companies invest more in their marketing campaigns to increase consumer awareness of their sales? Or, will companies have to offer unique sales of huge discounts? Either way, I’m looking forward to getting some awesome deals on Cyber Monday this year!

  4. m_thompson19 · ·

    Interesting post! I loved seeing the history behind cyber Monday – I had no idea where it came from. Cyber Monday is such a pivotal day for online retailers in order to fully capitalize on the hype of thanksgiving and holiday shopping. Would love to see how exactly brands try to pivot their sales and digital marketing towards this day. I wonder how much companies spend on prepping for the 24 hours of craziness – even prepping a website for so much traffic can be a lot. Cyber Monday seems to be such a great opportunity for online retailers, but theres a ton that goes on behind the scenes in order for the day to go smoothly.

  5. Nice post. I’ve seen lots of posts on Cyber Monday over the years, but I think you’re the first to correctly identify why Cyber Monday was on the day it was – the lack of in-home internet.

  6. juliasmacdonald · ·

    Great post! I feel like in recent years that Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become more and more integrated into one event. I know last year I received several digital promotions from brands that started on Thanksgiving (a little aggressive) and ended on Cyber Monday, turning the weekend into one big online retail opportunity. Also with more companies forgoing brick-and-mortar stores, the only way they can offer Black Friday deals is online anyways. I think as much of the retail experience is shifting to digital (not all though), more people are inclined to shop on their own schedule at home over the holiday break. Though I doubt we will ever actually get rid of the “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” distinctions, perhaps we should look into coming up with a new all-inclusive name for the weekend that officially kicks off the holiday shopping season…

  7. Great post, and very interesting to learn why Cyber Mondays have become such a sensational period for shopping. I remember on my first year here in the US, I walked into a mall oblivious of the holiday sales and nearly got stampeded by shoppers running around. A 17% CAGR from 2005 to 2015 is absolutely crazy, but it’s almost a relief that more consumers are leaning towards shopping online on Black Fridays and Cyber Mondays. There is always at least one or two insane stories about shoppers getting injured or killed, and the growth of online shopping will surely create a safer environment, if nothing else.

  8. ericiangesuale · ·

    I really like the entire idea around cyber Monday! It’s a lot easier to be okay about missing out on a deal virtually than when you travel to store and become disappointed to see that everything good is gone. I will definitely be using your resources this year! I have heard that the deals actually start on Friday and run through the whole weekend. I almost wish it were restricted to one day because I am already overwhelmed by the amount of options on the internet. Option anxiety is certainly something that you don’t have to worry about when it comes to brick & mortar stores.

  9. Great post, Alyssa! I am a big fan of online shopping and always look forward to the deals on Cyber Monday every year. I would have never thought that Cyber Monday started because of a lack of internet in people’s homes. I actually would have thought that there were increased sales on that Monday because of people returning, exhanging, or purchsing new complementary items as a reusult of their purchases from Black Friday. It makes total sense though that because of the convinience of internet and people feeling lathargic from the extended weekend, that the workplace is a perfect place to take advantage of a little post-holiday shopping.

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