Cyber Monday -- the first Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. -- has arrived with lots of new sales for online buyers and more on the way. In fact, many retailers are now promoting a Cyber Week to further drive sales and there are predictions that the occasion may soon encompass the entire holiday season.
Among others, Amazon, Target and Walmart are stretching out their online-only sales through the coming weekend, effectively creating Cyber Week. The deals are widespread and tempting, including Walmart's largest Cyber Monday offering yet with 200 deals, most notably $500 off a 55-inch 3D LED TV bundle and $150 off a 32 GB iPad bundle, plus free shipping on all $35+ orders.
Not to be outdone, Amazon is offering a new deal every ten minutes, starting at midnight on Dec. 1. The giant retailer said this accounts for hundreds of sales every day, such as $100 off a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 16 GB tablet, plus free shipping for eligible items.
Laura DiDio, a principal analyst at Information Technology Intelligence Consulting, told us she expected "we're not just going to see Cyber Week, but probably someday soon a Cyber Month into January," covering the whole holiday period.
She said that was a "reflection of the economy as well as the aggressiveness of online businesses," which these days includes virtually every customer-facing business. DiDio noted that "some of the best deals" are coming from the online units of cable TV shopping networks, like QVC.
Cyber Monday was started in 2005 by Shop.org, part of the National Retail Federation. Retailers began noticing a boost in online shopping on the Monday after Thanksgiving. Monday was selected, rather than a weekend day, because those behind the new sales event thought users would be more likely to shop if they used their high-speed connections at work.
But now about 70 percent of American adults aged 18 or older have a high-speed connection at home, according to the Pew Research Center. Online orders on Cyber Monday hit $1.5 billion last year, and, including mobile, could reach $2 billion this year. The official Cyber Monday Web site, cybermonday.com, now highlights deals from more than 800 online retailers, including hourly specials.
By comparison, sales in brick-and-mortar stores last year on Black Friday were about $11.2 billion. People are, of course, also shopping online on Black Friday, whose Web-only sales were up nearly 30 percent in 2012 over the previous year.
As Cyber Monday stretches into Cyber Week and perhaps Cyber Month sales, we may someday look on the legendary Black Friday as a minor ancestor to shopping online during the battle of the sales. Aggressive, occasionally hostile crowds at stores on the Friday after Thanksgiving, the limited inventory for physical store sales and the time spent standing in line would seem to lose out to the relative ease of picking up sales at home on the computer, especially with high-speed connections and powerful mobile devices.