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What is Cyber Monday?

Brad Russell

Brad Russell

Shopping is great, but shopping with big savings is even better. If you missed Black Friday for some reason, your chance to save on deals is still on with Cyber Monday. With more and more mobile users, it does not come as a surprise that there are attractive offers available for online customers.

Today, we’re going to delve deeper into one of the biggest shopping days of the whole year known as Cyber Monday. You may have heard about this ongoing event that takes place annually. It is considered the equivalent of Black Friday. But instead of rushing to shopping malls, buyers can stay at home or anywhere, add items to their virtual cart, and pay.

For several years now, Cyber Monday has been a part of many people’s holiday. It is a worldwide event with notoriously steep discounts that you can take advantage of for one day only. This sales event is observed the Monday right after the US Thanksgiving, which is in late November. The exact date for Cyber Monday depends on the year but usually falls between 26 November and 2 December.

Compared to Black Friday, Cyber Monday is relatively new. However, it has grown immensely popular. In fact, in 2017, sales ballooned to $6.59 billion (A$8.5 billion) in the US alone. Just two years prior, revenue was just a little over $2 billion. And the figure keeps growing every year.

Cyber Monday History

Ellen Davis was considered the person who coined the term “Cyber Monday.” During that time, she served as the Senior Vice President of the National Retail Federation and released a statement to the press on 28 November 2005. That was the first time Cyber Monday was mentioned to the public.

It was immediately decided that Cyber Monday would become an official sales event. Scott Silverman, the Head of where the press release was made, announced the birth of the new commercial event.

But Cyber Monday did not just come out of nowhere. It was a result of a 2004 research, which showed that the day after Thanksgiving was when shops generated the most revenue. 

According to the research, working-class Americans were willing to spend their hard-earned money on that very day. The Thanksgiving weekend would typically consist of window shopping. Consumers would then turn to their smartphones and laptops to connect to the Internet. Most of the searches were focused on what these buyers saw during their time looking at various shops’ windows. And that is mainly what caused the spike in the number of sales.

The 2004 study confirmed that the Monday after Thanksgiving was actually the 12th biggest shopping day of the year. Data gathered by retailers showed that the highest sales took place from the 5th to 15 December in 2003.

Cyber Monday is not only celebrated in the United States. It is also quite popular in Australia, UK, Canada, Peru, Colombia, and 20 other developed and developing countries across the globe.

Cyber Monday and Black Friday

Anyone who loves to go shopping knows the growing importance of Cyber Monday. However, even with its gained notoriety, some consumers still get confused with it and Black Friday. These two events are so close together with Black Friday taking place on the nearest Friday after Thanksgiving while Cyber Monday is the Monday after.

In 2020, Cyber Monday occurred on 30 November. In 2021, it will be celebrated on 29 November, and in 2022 it will be on 28 November.

Observers noticed that consumers would go online to continue purchasing as an aftermath of Black Friday. That’s why retailers realised that they could still profit from the following Monday and turn it into its own event. As a result of the tradition, Cyber Monday has helped boost sales for online retailers even further.

Both Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become a central pillar of Christmas shopping. Smart buyers wait for these events to see the deals on offer before purchasing big-ticket items just in time for the upcoming holidays.

Cyber Monday Statistics

When Cyber Monday was announced, millions of people rushed to purchase their favourite items online. Revenue reached $600 million (A$772.10 million). Since then, the growth was steady, increasing $100 million every year except in 2010 when the leap was bigger, and sales amounted to $1.3 billion (A$1.6 billion). This number remained until 2011 when the revenue remained stagnant. However, it did not take long before US citizens began spending more:

  • In 2012, the revenue was $1.98 billion.
  • In 2013, the total sales amounted to $2.29.
  • Increase in sales was as expected, growing consistently every year with $2.65 billion in revenue in 2014.
  • In 2015, a survey showed that less than 50% of the American population was interested in Cyber Monday. Nevertheless, the event racked up $2.98 billion (A$3.8 billion).
  • During the mentioned period, Cyber Monday earned more than Black Friday with $2.74 billion.
  • Research also showed that the average order value was $128 (A$164.72) for Cyber Monday in 2015. In comparison, people spent an average of $123 during Black Friday.
  • 27% of the revenue generated in the 2015 Cyber Monday was from purchases made through a mobile device.
  • 72% of buyers preferred to use their desktop computers when shopping online.
  • Exponential growth was observed from 2016 to 2017. The average person would spend around $400 (A$514.73).
  • In 2017, Cyber Monday broke its record, with total sales of $6.6 billion, prompting analysts to call it the biggest online shopping day in US history.

Despite the pandemic in 2020, Cyber Monday once again shattered its record. Sales reached $10.8 billion for this event alone. It has now become the biggest e-commerce day in the US. In Australia, the shopping market experienced the biggest sales event in 2019 with about a 40% increase in sales in most shopping categories. Australia Post noted that 2.2 million households went online and began their shopping spree a few days before Cyber Monday.

Why People Care about Cyber Monday

Shopper with shopping cart on a Christmas sale in shop

Many retailers had already gone back to business before Cyber Monday took place in 2020. Analysts expected that it would be more popular than ever, especially because many stores were still closed for Black Friday. Most merchants geared up for Cyber Monday since October 2020, putting up ads all over the web. When surveyed, more than 33% of shoppers said they would take advantage of Cyber Monday deals. In comparison, only 24% said they would be waiting for Black Friday to buy items.

Additionally, more than 80% of consumers had a hard time recovering since the pandemic. Even stores would remain closed during Thanksgiving. As a result, shoppers chose to go online instead.

It was not difficult for retailers to put the word out there regarding their offers. Most of the ads were already around since October 2020 and became even more prevalent a week before the Thanksgiving holiday. Shoppers now prefer buying online because it is more convenient. Most of them are time-strapped, as well, and online shopping has allowed consumers to view and purchase items no matter where they are.

Being open 24 hours is a huge reason why Cyber Monday has captured the attention of buyers around the world. In 2017, it was estimated that over 18 million Australians owned a smartphone. This number grew in 2020, and so has online shopping. Average increase from 2015 to 2020 was 17.3% with an estimated revenue of $34.5 billion.

It’s not surprising that Australians look up items online while they are in stores to see if there are better prices. Cyber Monday is a reflection of how consumers embrace Internet retailing. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, online shopping had already gained momentum, making up nine per cent of total retail sales in Australia. Research performed by the University of Buffalo in the US showed that shopping mall revenue experienced a 96% decline because consumers preferred to shop through Amazon.

Reinforcing the popularity of this shopping holiday, some known publications noted that Cyber Monday truly deserves being recognised as one of the best shopping days for deals and discounts:

  • CNBC mentioned that Cyber Monday and Black Friday had essentially combined into one shopping weekend in celebration of Thanksgiving in 2011.
  • In 2016, several major retailers converted Cyber Monday into Cyber Monday Week, presenting revolving selections of deals for the next few days. Amazon began this change while other retailers followed suit. Kohl’s, for instance, extended the Cyber Monday sale until December.
  • In 2020, 65% of consumers said that they would rather stay at home and buy online.
  • After 30 November 2020, Cyber Monday concluded with a loud bang. It took over online shopping in the entire US history with sales amounting to a whopping $10.7 billion (A$13.8 billion).
  • Employers and businesses tend to be unhappy about Cyber Monday because the shopping event causes lower productivity. Australians typically work 35 to 37.5 hours per week. However, the holidays can make employees work less with many hours spent shopping online even while at the office. 

On 20 November 2012, Australian online retailers introduced a similar event like Cyber Monday. It was called “Click Frenzy,” which began at exactly 7 PM. Excited consumers took to their favourite online stores, only to be disappointed. Many of the websites crashed and went offline. Others continued to operate but had numerous server issues. Click Frenzy promo website experienced some of the worst problems. To calm angry consumers down, brick and mortar stores ran a competing sale with huge discounts. 

Click Frenzy remains in Australia and buyers participate with the event, held every third Tuesday of November every year. It is considered the kick-off (although unofficial) for the holiday shopping season in the country. About four years later, after the start of Click Frenzy, “Travel Frenzy” was introduced to the public, which features travel deals. It takes place yearly in August.

What Australians Buy on Cyber Monday

There’s one thing that makes Cyber Monday a bit confusing to buyers. They think this day has the best deal on electronics because it has the word “cyber” in its name. But Cyber Monday is actually for online shopping and not for electronics or gadgets. Still, it does not mean you won’t get any tech deals.

Cyber Monday is dedicated to shoppers with a taste for fashion. It’s the best time to spend money on new clothes, shoes, accessories, and makeup. Some of the deals that you can get include free shopping offers, which you will not see at traditional stores with a Black Friday sale.

Aussies take note of the discounts that can range from 20 to 70 per cent on:

  • Housewares
  • Apparel
  • Accessories
  • Appliances
  • Tech, especially Android smartphones and Windows laptops (Best offers for Apple products are on Black Friday)
  • Gym clothes
  • Sporting goods
  • Health items
  • Beauty products

Some of the brands and stores with the best deals in the past years are:

  • The Iconic
  • eBay
  • Norton
  • ASOS
  • The Good Guys
  • Nike
  • Adidas
  • Bonds
  • Amazon
  • Sephora
  • Myer
  • Shaver Shop
  • Adore Beauty
  • Catch
  • Chromecast
  • Dell
  • Nintendo

Some stores offer free shipping, which is one of the deals any shopper should take advantage of. Examples include eBay, Catch, and Amazon Australia. These three, however, require that you enrol a membership account with them. Others, such as Target Australia, David Jones, JD Sports, and Platypus Shoes, let you enjoy free shipping for orders from $80 to $150 depending on the store.

Tips for Successful Cyber Monday Shopping

No waiting in long lines, no hassle, just pure shopping convenience at the comfort of your own home – that’s the biggest lure of Cyber Monday. When you are ready to spend some big bucks on this day, you may want to heed the following recommendations:

  • Start to look for deals online even before the holiday. Chances are your favourite brands have discounts that you surely want to grab.
  • One concrete way to find deals is to go to Twitter and search for “#CyberMonday.” You will immediately see discussions about the best promos in town.
  • Check Facebook and Instagram, as well, particularly of your preferred retailers. They often have flash deals scheduled at certain times. Set your alarms and notifications to ensure you do not miss them.
  • Review the offers from the past year to know what items could be on sale this upcoming Cyber Monday.
  • Subscribing to newsletters from retailers and brands is another way for you to catch deals. Make sure to read the email or at least the subject to learn the available discounts.
  • If you’re a mobile user or prefer shopping with your smartphone or tablet, it is better to shop during Black Friday. This event is more mobile-friendly compared to Cyber Monday, where websites can slow down and crash. That’s because buyers know that Cyber Monday is dedicated to online shopping deals while Black Friday is for physical stores.
  • If you wish to shop for electronics, such as TVs, PC, home office equipment, and mobile devices, Black Friday is the better option between the two. 
  • Meanwhile, if you’re looking for excellent prices for clothing, home goods, and furniture, Cyber Monday is when you should shop.
  • Cyber Monday is also the time to shop for beauty products and shoes.
  • Pick the retailer with a generous policy for returning items, especially for clothing.

Because of the popularity of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, other special days were born. An example is the Small Business Saturday, which was introduced in 2010 and it takes place immediately after Black Friday (usually the last Saturday in November). This event was launched to help small businesses gain revenue, pulling consumers away from large retailers.

With the growing number of small businesses in Australia, it may not take long for this movement to become a massive hit in the country, as well. For now, we can all enjoy Black Friday and Cyber Monday for the best discounts on products and even gifts just in time for the holidays.