Cyber Monday Sets Record. Are We Surprised?

Americans spent the weekend shopping, increasingly online, so they surely left nothing for Cyber Monday, right? Well, plenty of outlets today are declaring Monday online shopping’s biggest day ever.

IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark, which tracks e-commerce transactions from more than 500 retailers, said online sales on Monday were up 30 percent from Cyber Monday a year ago. Jay Henderson, strategy director at IBM Smarter Commerce, was quoted as saying, “The reports of the death of Cyber Monday are greatly exaggerated,” Certainly, we saw shopping start earlier this year, but it hasn’t diminished the growth in sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.”

Once again, the reports seem to agree that mobile devices are a big reason why. Bloomberg BusinessWeek said, “Results show Americans are getting more comfortable shopping across all screens — computers, smartphones and tablets — and retailers are capitalizing on this by improving e-commerce offerings and beefing up Cyber Monday-specific deals.”

The year of the tablet

CNN said, “about 18% of shoppers checked out deals on their mobile devices on Monday, and 13% made purchases by phone or tablet – up from 12% and 7%, respectively, last year.”

The popularity of the tablet computer was another factor. More than 7% of online shopping on Monday happened on the iPad, more than any other tablet or smartphone, IBM said.

Preparation apparently was another reason. Brad Wilson of told USA Today that websites “in general are better prepared than in prior years. I think this move to virtual Web hosting in the much-discussed ‘cloud’ is a part of why the day (was) better overall.”

Always ready for a deal

Other suggested reasons for the big Cyber Monday:

  • More shoppers bought after being referred from social networks
  • More consumers are shopping in store and online at the same time to get the best deals
  • Shoppers responded to retailer offers like free shipping.

Kevin Regan, senior managing director of the marketing firm FTI Consulting, may have summed it up best in comments to The Christian Science Monitor: “What this Cyber Monday tells us more than anything is that consumers are ready to buy no matter where they are or what they are doing if that is the moment that the best deal shows up.”

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