Debate Over Cyber Monday

The holiday season is a time of elevated sales both offline and online, no question. And while Black Friday is commonly known as the day when consumers converge on malls and big box stores, but it’s not the busiest shopping day of the season. “Although most of the news is about how big of a deal the offline sales are; typically the biggest retail day during the season is actually the week before Christmas,” said Youn-Bean Song, VP of analytics at Atlas Institute when discussing a recent holiday study.

So true is the misconception about Black Friday (which experienced a nice increase in online sales last week), it also exists for Cyber Monday. The same Atlas study forecasts online shopping’s peak will take place closer to shipping cut-off dates in mid-December. The debate over the busiest online shopping day of the year actually makes the day a moving target, depending on the length of the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s commonly placed at the Monday after Thanksgiving. The Atlas study states December 11 as the big day due to a peak in online sales. This week press releases stated, “It’s not Cyber Monday, it’s Cyber Week.” Wikipedia defines Cyber Monday as “the Monday immediately following Black Friday, the ceremonial kick-off of the holiday online shopping season in the United States between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas.” Is the designation still up for debate? Is it relevant at all? There’s no question yesterday was significant online. Akamai registered 4.6 million visitors per minute at the day’s peak around 2:00 p.m. EST, and said online visits to Akamai sites surpassed 2006’s visits by 10:00 a.m. EST. If this isn’t the highest-earning online shopping day of the season, what will the remaining days look like? Especially when early reports speak of more modest growth this year.

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