Shoppers, start your engines. The Monday after Black Friday is known as Cyber Monday, created by Shop.org in 2005 after retailers noticed a "trend of people shopping online on the Monday after Thanksgiving." Shop.org said Cyber Monday is now considered the "ceremonial kickoff of the online holiday shopping season."
Shop.org is the digital division of the National Retail Federation, which describes itself as "the world's largest retail trade association." The federation represents retailers in virtually every industry along with more than 100 smaller retail associations.
Shoppers Up, Spending Down
According to a survey commissioned by the federation during the weekend, the number of shoppers in stores on Black Friday was up this year, 195 million versus 172 million in 2008. But, the survey found, average spending dropped slightly to $343.31 from $372.57 last year.
NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin said "shoppers proved this weekend that they were willing to open their wallets for a bargain." Those bargains, the federation said, will also be found online on Cyber Monday and other shopping days, with about 28 percent of all shoppers this weekend shopping online.
A survey by Shop.org found that 96.5 million Americans expected to shop online on Cyber Monday, an increase of more than 10 million over last year. The organization also found that nearly nine in 10 retailers would have a special Cyber Monday promotion, an increase of four percent over last year and nearly 15 percent over 2007.
About 43 percent of those retailers planned specific online deals, and nearly a third planned one-day sales. About 16 percent planned free shipping on all purchases, and half expected to send out a special Cyber Monday e-mail promoting deals.
Upping the Ante
In addition to the retailers pushing Cyber Monday deals, Shop.org has a CyberMonday.com site, whose proceeds benefit a scholarship fund. Last year, the organization said, its CyberMonday.com site had 2.4 million unique visitors and did more than $5 million in sales on the big day.
"It seems like companies up the ante every year for Cyber Monday," said Shop.org Executive Director Scott Silverman.
Michael Gartenberg, a vice president at Interpret, noted the continued rise of online shopping and pointed out that the Cyber Monday-Black Friday street goes both ways. Even as brick-and-mortar stores with online shops embrace Cyber Monday, he noted, "Amazon.com has been running Black Friday specials."
Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis for consumer technology at the NPD Group, said that, "especially since the demise of Circuit City," electronic commerce has become a more important channel in consumer electronics.
But, he pointed out, "there's more dilution of focus in terms of the day itself," in that "we don't see the kind of impact in shopping on Cyber Monday that we do on Black Friday."