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What is Cyber Monday? History and Statistics

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Interesting facts about Cyber Monday history plus statistics on Cyber Monday shopping habits

Cyber Monday is now more than a decade old and was created as an online counterpoint to the brick-and-mortar-heavy Black Friday. In addition to giving online retailers a piece of the Thanksgiving weekend pie, it gives holiday deal-hunters a more convenient shopping option.

Whether Cyber Monday still stands on its own or has completely merged with Black Friday and the rest of Thanksgiving weekend is up for debate. Read on for interesting facts about the day’s history and statistics on Cyber Monday shopping habits.

The history of Cyber Monday

The term “Cyber Monday” started getting used in 2005 by the National Retail Federation (NRF), which needed a name for the flurry of online sales the Monday after Thanksgiving.

In the press release that debuted the term “Cyber Monday,” the NRF credited faster internet connections at work and online retailers wanting to attract holiday shoppers as the impetus behind this new trend. In other words, online merchants wanted the money brick-and-mortar stores were making on Black Friday. And consumers were more than happy to shop from the comfort of their work desks instead of standing in line in the cold outside Walmart.

And, thus, Cyber Monday was born.

Since then, the line between Black Friday and Cyber Monday has become blurred. Even in 2005, according to the initial NRF press release, online retailers were starting their Cyber Monday sales early.

Here are some more important milestones in Cyber Monday history:

  • 2006: CNN noted that limited supply of popular toys and gaming consoles were making online Cyber Monday shopping more attractive to holiday shoppers.
  • 2007: The Great Recession hit just after Cyber Monday — and hit consumers hard the following year. Even so, Cyber Monday sales continued an upward trend, hitting $846 million in 2008 (up from $730 million in 2007), according to comScore numbers. According to the NRF, Black Friday and Cyber Monday became even more important during the recession — shoppers had less to spend on non-necessities, so deals became critical.
  • 2008: The brutal holiday competition between Walmart and Amazon can perhaps be traced to Cyber Monday 2008, when Amazon’s traffic increased a whopping 21% year over year to beat Walmart’s 6% increase (according to data from site-metrics firm Hitwise). Amazon became the No. 1 retail site that year for Cyber Monday, putting Walmart in second place.
  • 2009: “Cyber Monday” started becoming “Cyber Week.” Walmart announced it would be offering five days of cyber deals.
  • 2010: Following Walmart’s lead the previous year, other major retailers announced they’d be breaking out of the Monday-only box and offering cyber sales well into the following week. Toys “R” Us extended its sales into the following Tuesday, Sears/Kmart kept the deals going through Thursday, and Target announced a full week of sales.
  • 2010: This was the first year Cyber Monday spending hit $1 billion, according to comScore.
  • 2011: CNBC declared that Black Friday and Cyber Monday had merged into one long shopping weekend. Notably, Walmart, Best Buy and other big-box stores had begun unleashing deals online and in stores starting on Thanksgiving and limiting their doorbuster-only offerings.
  • 2012: IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark noted that smartphones were becoming increasingly popular Cyber Monday shopping tools. Roughly 18% of shoppers scoped out Cyber Monday deals on their phones (up from 12% the year before) and 13% made Cyber Monday purchases by smartphone (up from 7% the year before).
  • 2013: This was the year fashion websites started capitalizing on Cyber Monday in a big way with sitewide discounts. This year set the standard for the 30%-to-50% off sitewide Cyber Monday discounts you find on clothing giants like ASOS, Ann Taylor, Old Navy and more.
  • 2015: Target announced it would offer 15% off sitewide on Target.com for Cyber Monday.
  • 2016: The bulk of large retailers were no longer limiting themselves to a single day for “Cyber” deals. Amazon had begun calling its promo “Cyber Monday Deals Week” and releasing constantly changing daily deals. Kohl’s extended its Cyber sale into Early December.
  • 2017: Black Friday and Cyber Monday were, in many ways, indistinguishable. The lowest prices on the year’s hot items (smart-home devices, gaming consoles and VR) were available online and stayed the same Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. The holiday’s growth also shows no sign of slowing with more than $4 billion in sales in 2017.
  • 2018: Cyber Monday hit $6 billion in digital spending in 2018, according to Comscore. That’s a 28% uptick year over year. This year, the pattern of Black Friday and Cyber Monday blurred even more, with some retailers’ “Black Friday” and “Cyber” sales overlapping each other during Thanksgiving weekend. Many of the price points remained the same, too, throughout the weekend. The main difference? Some gaming deals were hotter (and sold out during Black Friday sales. While Cyber Monday saw some good deals (and matched Black Friday pricing on the PS4, Xbox One S and Xbox One X), the hottest Nintendo Switch Mario Kart 8 bundle was here and gone with Black Friday.

Cyber Monday stats

We’ve rounded up Cyber Monday statistics from our own surveys and other reputable sources to give you a quick look at shopping trends and consumer behavior.

Cyber Monday spending through the years

ComScore tracks e-commerce spending on Cyber Monday. Here’s its data on Cyber Monday spending since 2005:

2005: $484 million

2006: $608 million

2007: $733 million

2008: $846 million

2009: $887 million

2010: $1.028 billion

2011: $1.25 billion

2012: $1.46 billion

2013: $1.74 billion

2014: $2.6 billion

2015: $3.1 billion

2016: $3.7 billion

2017: $4.7 billion

2018: $6 billion

Adobe Analytics also tracks Cyber Monday spending. While the numbers are a bit different, they also show a pattern of year-over-year growth:

2016: $3.45 billion (Source: Adobe Analytics)

2017: $6.59 billion (Source: Adobe Analytics)

2018: $7.9 billion (Source: Adobe Analytics)

Cyber Monday consumer behavior

  • In 2017, 81 million people shopped online on Cyber Monday (Source: NRF). In 2018, ahead of Thanksgiving weekend, roughly 68 million said they planned to shop online on Cyber Monday (Source: NRF)
  • Cyber Monday is competing Black Friday in popularity:
    • In 2017, 71% of consumers said they planned to shop on Cyber Monday, compared to the 69% who said they planned to shop on Black Friday. (Source: Offers.com).
    • In 2018, Cyber Monday digital spending beat Black Friday digital spending by $1.2 billion (Source: Comscore).
    • In 2018, Cyber Monday was the top buying day of Peak Week with 16 million transactions (up from 14.6 million in 2017), compared with 14.8 million transactions on Black Friday (Source: Hitwise)
  • Younger consumers prefer Cyber Monday to Black Friday: 88 percent of 18-to-34-year-olds planned to shop on Cyber Monday in 2017 while 74% of 35-to-54-year-olds said the same. (Source: Offers.com)
  • In 2017, 75% of Cyber Monday shoppers used their computers at home, 43% used a mobile device and 13% used computers at work (Source: NRF)

Popular Cyber Monday products

According to our 2018 survey with Offers.com, these are the most popular items for Cyber Monday deal-seekers:

  • 23% of Cyber Monday shoppers seek deals on clothing
  • 22% seek deals on tablets/laptops/PCs/TVs
  • 17% seek deals on smart-home gadgets
  • 12% seek deals on gift cards
  • 14% seek deals on toys
  • 12% seek deals on travel

Adobe Digital Insights tracks popular Cyber Monday products:

  • Top sellers in 2018 included: Nintendo Switch, Little Live Pets, Red Dead Redemption 2, LG TVs, drones (DJI, Air Hogs, Sky Viper), Dell laptops, FurReal Pets and Amazon Echo devices (Source: Adobe Digital Insights)
  • Top sellers in 2017 included: Google Chromecast, iPads, Samsung Tablets, Apple AirPods, Sony Playstation VR, Microsoft Xbox One X, Nintendo Switch and L.O.L Surprise Dolls.
  • Top sellers in 2016 included Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One S, Samsung 4K TVs, iPads, Amazon Fire tablets, Shopkins and Lego sets.

Popular Cyber Monday retailers

According to our 2018 holiday survey, Amazon is the top destination for deal hunters, followed by Walmart. Thirty-two percent of consumers said (in advance of the 2018 holiday shopping season) that Amazon would have the best Cyber Monday deals, and 24% said the same about Walmart.

According to Hitwise, which tracks e-commerce site metrics, Amazon is absolutely dominating Cyber Monday.

  • On Cyber Monday 2018, Amazon processed more than 9.5 million transactions, which gave it a share of 60% of the transactions processed that day. For comparison, Walmart processed roughly 1.4 million transactions (for a 7.2% share) (Source: Hitwise)
  • On Cyber Monday 2017, Amazon processed more than 8.6 million transactions, got nearly 60% of total Cyber Monday sales and saw 103 million visits. For comparison, Walmart (the second-biggest Cyber Monday retailer) saw 1.2 million transactions, got 8.5% of Cyber Monday sales and saw 32 million visits (Source: Hitwise)

It’s now 2019, and Cyber Monday has grown from a trend to a tradition. And tracking deals on Thanksgiving weekend has become an increasingly unwieldy task. That’s why our team tracks thousands of deals and narrows them down to the ones that are worth your time and money. Check our blog, ad scans and expert analysis to guide your shopping choices.

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