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November 30, 2005
Cyber Monday: The Results
I'm kind of surprised how my article on how Cyber Monday isn't all it's cracked up to be has prompted so many folks out there to come down rather hard on the marketing types who came up with the notion. Scott Silverman at Shop.org, which came up with the term, called me today, understandably concerned about how many people seem to think the organization made up the term out of whole cloth. As the story pointed out, that's certainly not true. The Monday after Thanksgiving does see a rise in traffic and sales over the previous Monday.
My point, and where I continue to differ with Scott, was that it's nothing like Black Friday is for traditional retailers in the malls. It's neither the first big spike in traffic or sales for the holiday season, nor even close to the biggest of the year. And Monday's numbers bear out the story. ComScore Networks showed only a modest 9% increase in sales Monday over the previous Tuesday, which was the real kickoff of the season, when sales had spiked 55%. Likewise, Nielsen//NetRatings said Cyber Monday traffic from people shopping at work rose 18% from the week before. But that's far below the 39% week-over-week spike on Black Friday from home shoppers. In fact, it's even below the 25% at-work jump in traffic on Saturday, when folks must have slipped into the office to do some clicking after not finding what they wanted at the mall Friday. Another Web performance service, AlertSite, actually saw the biggest traffic jump on Thanksgiving night, calling Cyber Monday a "dud."
I wouldn't go that far, but here's where I think the main problem lies: our headline. I have to admit that "Cyber Monday, Marketing Myth" is a little over the top. Just don't blame the folks at Shop.org for doing their jobs: promoting online shopping. And they apparently did that job well: As my article noted, a few merchants who latched onto the Cyber Monday idea did in fact see a big jump in business. It's just that for online retailers overall, the biggest days are still to come. That's something no amount of clever marketing will change.
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Tracked on December 3, 2005 04:22 PM
I don't see how my post could be construed as conspiracy theory. I was quite amused to read your original article and discover that the day was really pure P.R. hype, and yet absolutely ubiquitously reported as being on a par with Black Friday.
I don't fault the folks at Shop.org for doing their job. In fact, they did an unbelievable job of promoting the day in such a short time frame. Yours was the first article I had seen, amidst ubiquitous press saturation about the event, that actually REPORTED about it as opposed to regurgitating the original press release.
Posted by: Eric Haller at November 30, 2005 02:05 PM
Eric, you're right, I didn't mean to imply that you are a conspiracy theorist yourself. I'll change the wording--don't want to undercut myself with my own over-the-top language!
Posted by: Rob Hof at November 30, 2005 02:56 PM
cyber monday is a gimmick, it isn't like anything is on sale like black friday....glad it was a bust.
Posted by: Joe at December 1, 2005 05:17 AM
We have a number of e-commerce clients, and their week by week traffic tends to start jumping in October, although conversions (traffic compared to sales) do start to improve on “Cyber Monday.”
A rough analysis of our data shows that “Cyber Monday” is probably not in the top 10 online shopping days of the whole year.
The significance of the term in my eyes is that vacationers return to their offices on Monday from the Thanksgiving holiday, and rather than strive to improve their productivity, they start buying online? The days after Thanksgiving were certainly slow, but things jump-started on Monday. To me, that is the significance of the term… the official start of the peak online shopping season, not necessary a huge shopping day compared to the days that follow. To that end, I do not see it as a myth… it is reality.
Posted by: Scott at December 23, 2005 01:38 AM
Scott Silverman emailed me also, see
It would be worthwhile to keep an eye on the wikipedia article, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyber_Monday
Posted by: quokkapox at December 25, 2005 12:16 AM