The Little Known History of Cyber Monday

Some people aren’t brave enough to face the crazy crowds that swarm shopping malls on Black Friday. So, it’s no surprise that the tradition of Cyber Monday continues to grow in popularity among eager deal seekers. Although Black Friday has been around since the 1970s, Cyber Monday is a relatively new phenomenon, and even serious bargain-hunters might not know about the history of this celebrated day.

The official first usage of the term “Cyber Monday” appeared in a press release on November 28, 2005. The article, titled “Cyber Monday Quickly Becoming One of the Biggest Online Shopping Days of the Year,” cited the growing popularity of people turning to their computers to purchase Christmas presents on the Monday after Thanksgiving.

That same month a New York Times story reported that people were still suffering from slow, dial-up Internet connections at home, so they would head to the office Monday morning and take advantage of their employer’s speedy computers to finish their Christmas shopping. There was also the advantage of not having family members peeking over their shoulders while they purchased their presents.

Nowadays, nearly everyone has Internet at home, and can appreciate the convenience, comfort, and ease that comes with shopping in your living room. There’s also the benefit that you have a greater likelihood of finding the exact products you want by searching online - rather than walking up and down the aisles of a brick-and-mortar store to discover many items are out of stock.

With so many reasons to love Cyber Monday, it should come as no surprise that it has continued to be fueled by merchants dedicated to providing great deals, free shipping promotions, and limited-time offers on that one special shopping holiday. It seems like everyone is getting in on the act. In fact, just a few years ago, a study claimed that more than 88% of online merchants offered some sort of Cyber Monday discounts.

Since 2005, online spending on Cyber Monday has grown substantially every year. In 2006, sales were at $608 million, and by 2010, Cyber Monday sales had reached over $1 billion for the first time. Sales don’t look to be dropping anytime soon - last year, people spent more than $2 billion, making Cyber Monday the heaviest online spending day of the entire year. Although Cyber Monday shopping is driven more by higher spending per person versus more individual shoppers, the tradition doesn’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon.

Although the trend was initially an American one, the phenomenon has since spread across the globe. Canada introduced Cyber Monday into the lexicon in 2008; the United Kingdom also marks the day for increased online shopping, but they call it “Mega Monday.”

Cyber Monday has continued to evolve with improvements to technology. With the increase of people shopping on smartphones and tablets, consumers have found yet another method for easily purchasing their Christmas gifts. Those using their smartphones to buy presents on the digital  holiday increased over 70% from 2011 to 2012 alone.

This December 2nd will see a whole new slew of customers eager to sleep in on Black Friday, but unwilling to miss out on the post-Thanksgiving bargains. Keep yourself apprised of deals by signing up for email newsletters from your favorite stores, and you’ll be sure to land some great deals.

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