Derided by some as just a marketing gimmick, Cyber Monday actually became the “Biggest Online Shopping Day of the Year” in 2014 — nine years after its launch. The National Retail Federation introduced Cyber Monday in 2005 as a way to promote online sales. But, was the promotion really needed? After all, the real-time motives behind the creation of Cyber Monday were already at work… literally. 

The Need for Speed and Secrecy

According to Reader’s Digest, Finally! Here’s How Cyber Monday Even Became a Thing, research available in 2004 demonstrated that the Monday, post-Thanksgiving, equaled one of the most lucrative annual online shopping days.

But, unlike the celebration of Small Business Saturday, these shoppers weren’t necessarily looking to support online stores or make a statement against mega-retailers and Black Friday deals.

What these shoppers were looking for came down to two things:

  1. faster Internet speeds at work compared to home
  2. a place to shop for holiday gifts in secrecy away from their children.   

So, whether they were dragged down by dial-up or determined to squash any snooping on the part of their offspring, online shopping from the office was trending.

And it still is…

The Marketing Behind Cyber Monday

Of course, flex a little marketing muscle behind just about anything and results will likely follow. What started as a 2005 press release, crafted by Ellen Davis, senior VP of research and strategic initiatives for the National Retail Federation, has skyrocketed into an online shopping phenomenon.

Exhibit A: Fortune’s Cyber Monday Sales Hit a New Record in 2016, reported that sales of $3.45 billion made Cyber Monday in 2016 “the biggest day in the history of U.S. e-commerce.”

But, Cyber Monday has a ways to go if it wants to become the biggest online shopping day worldwide.

For now, that distinction belongs to China’s Single’s Day, with single-day sales topping $14.3 billion.

What is Single’s Day?

A story for another time

Real-time Motives Behind the Creation of Cyber Monday

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