How Cyber Monday Works

The Performance of Cyber Monday

The days leading up to Christmas are crucial for retailers in the United States, which rely heavily on fourth quarter earnings to meet annual sales goals. In 2002 and 2003, online retailers started to notice an upsurge in sales on the day that would later be dubbed Cyber Monday [source: Smith]. Apparently, consumers weren't always finding the deals they wanted in stores, so come Monday morning, they would peruse for presents at work. Or perhaps they were still visiting stores over the weekend, but chose to hunt the Web later to find the best deals rather than buy in person.

Whatever the case, according to a digital tracking company called comScore, from 2005 onward Cyber Monday sales have inched progressively higher, from $484 million in 2005 to more than $1 billion in 2010. In fact, 2010 was the first year Cyber Monday cracked the billion dollar mark. It was also the busiest online shopping day of the year. That trend has continued, with the $3 billion barrier being broken in 2017 [source: comScore].


And were all those Cyber Monday shoppers logging on while on the clock? According to comScore, the numbers have shifted a bit over the years. In 2009, 41.6 percent of shoppers logged in from home and 52.9 percent were making purchases from work. But by 2010, about 45.4 percent of the shop-from-work crowd was now plugging in credit card versus 48.9 percent from work [source: comScore]. In 2017, a Robert Half survey showed that 49 percent of employees typically shopped while at work.

It's interesting that shop-from-work numbers have remained high even though most Americans have high-speed internet at home now, unlike the early days of Cyber Monday. One theory is that employees enjoy being able to shop for loved ones without having to worry about the nature of the gifts being discovered. Many online deals are offered only before 5 p.m. Plus who doesn't love a little break from work?

Related Articles


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  • Barbaro, Michael. "Online sales take off on 'Cyber Monday'." New York Times. Nov. 30, 2005. (Oct. 14, 2011)
  • "Billion Dollar Bonanza: Cyber Monday Surpasses $1 Billion in U.S. Spending as Heaviest Shopping Day Online in History." Dec. 1, 2010. (Oct. 14, 2011)
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  • "Wal-Mart fights $7,000 fine in Black Friday death." USA Today. July 7, 2010. (Oct. 14, 2011)