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When did Cyber Monday originate? What is Cyber Monday?

Black Friday is now followed swifty after by the online shopper's alternative, but who first coined the phrase 'Cyber Monday' and what does it mean?

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When did Cyber Monday originate? What is Cyber Monday?

Black Friday has become a part of American retail culture over the course of decades as shoppers gear up for the holiday season by taking advantage of the post-Thanksgiving deals. But in recent years, with the rapid growth of online shopping, the annual retail bonanza has spawned a new, online equivalent: Cyber Monday.

While Black Friday remains the day when excited shoppers flock to stores, Cyber Monday takes place the following week and now considered the last chance to grab some online bargains before Christmas.

How did Cyber Monday start?

The term ‘Cyber Monday’ is thought to have been coined by Ellen Davis of the National Retail Federation in a Shop.org press release. On 28 November 2005 she wrote a piece entitled: 'Cyber Monday' Quickly Becoming One of the Biggest Online Shopping Days of the Year', which christened the day on which smaller retail website issued their own sales in the aftermath of Black Friday.

The Shop.org post claimed that, during 2005, "77% of online retailers said that their sales increased substantially on the Monday after Thanksgiving, a trend that is driving serious online discounts and promotions on ‘Cyber Monday’.”

Clearly the piece by Davis simply identified and gave a name to a practice that had been observable previously, but the invention of the term ‘Cyber Monday’ has allowed businesses to build hype around their annual online sales. Last year’s Cyber Monday on 30 November 2020 broke the record for the largest single day of online shopping in the United States, with $10.7 billion spent in a single day.

Cyber Monday 2021 expected to fall short

Last year’s mammoth take for online retailers can be attributed to a number of causes. The pandemic and related restrictions will have prevented or dissuaded millions of Americans from doing their holiday shopping in person and led to them buying online.

The pandemic also had a variety of consequences for American households which could explain why so many opted to take advantage of Cyber Monday sales. Some found that, with restrictions in place for much of the summer, they had spent less than they had expected and were left with more money for holiday shopping.

Alternatively, millions lost their jobs during 2020 and suffered serious financial losses due to covid-19. For those people, Cyber Monday may have offered an opportunity a do their Christmas shopping at a reduced cost, and the online nature of the sales allowed them to shop around and save money.

This year is not expected to see anything similar, with the economy now in a very different place and other factors hampering online sales. In recent months many retailers and manufacturers have experienced global supply chain disruptions and shoppers may well decide to do their bargain hunting in-store again this year.