Cyber Monday is now more than a decade old and was created as an online counterpoint to the brick-and-mortar-heavy Black Friday. In addition to giving online retailers a piece of the Thanksgiving weekend pie, it gives holiday deal-hunters a more convenient shopping option. It takes place on Nov. 29 in 2021.
Whether Cyber Monday still stands on its own or has completely merged with Black Friday and the rest of Thanksgiving weekend is up for debate. In 2020, Cyber Monday and Black Friday were even less differentiated, as the coronavirus pandemic pushed shoppers online. Plus, while Cyber Monday offered some unique savings, many deals were Black Friday repeats.
Read on for interesting facts about the day’s history and statistics on Cyber Monday shopping habits.
The history of Cyber Monday
The term “Cyber Monday” started getting used in 2005 by the National Retail Federation (NRF), which needed a name for the flurry of online sales the Monday after Thanksgiving day.
In the 2005 press release that debuted the term “Cyber Monday,” the NRF credited faster internet connections at work and online retailers wanting to attract holiday shoppers as the impetus behind this new trend. In other words, online merchants wanted the money brick-and-mortar stores were making on Black Friday. And consumers were more than happy to shop from the comfort of their work desks instead of standing in line in the cold outside Walmart.
And, thus, Cyber Monday was born.
Since then, the line between Black Friday and Cyber Monday has become blurred. Even in 2005, according to the initial NRF press release, online retailers were starting their Cyber Monday sales early.
Here are some more important milestones in Cyber Monday history:
- 2006: CNN noted that limited supply of popular toys and gaming consoles were making online shopping on Cyber Monday more attractive to holiday shoppers.
- 2007: The Great Recession hit just after Cyber Monday — and hit consumers hard the following year. Even so, Cyber Monday sales continued an upward trend, hitting $846 million in 2008 (up from $730 million in 2007), according to comScore numbers. According to the NRF, Black Friday and Cyber Monday became even more important during the recession — shoppers had less to spend on non-necessities, so deals became critical.
- 2008: The brutal holiday competition between Walmart and Amazon can perhaps be traced to Cyber Monday 2008, when Amazon’s traffic increased a whopping 21% year over year to beat Walmart’s 6% increase (according to data from site-metrics firm Hitwise). Amazon became the No. 1 retail site that year for Cyber Monday, putting Walmart in second place.
- 2009: “Cyber Monday” started becoming “Cyber Week.” Walmart announced it would be offering five days of cyber deals.
- 2010: Following Walmart’s lead the previous year, other major retailers announced they’d be breaking out of the Monday-only box and offering cyber sales well into the following week. Toys “R” Us extended its sales into the following Tuesday, Sears/Kmart kept the deals going through Thursday, and Target announced a full week of sales.
- 2010: This was the first year Cyber Monday spending hit $1 billion, according to comScore.
- 2011: CNBC declared that Black Friday and Cyber Monday had merged into one long shopping weekend. Notably, Walmart, Best Buy and other big-box stores had begun unleashing deep discounts online and in stores starting on Thanksgiving and limiting their doorbuster-only offerings.
- 2012: IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark noted that smartphones were becoming increasingly popular Cyber Monday shopping tools. Roughly 18% of shoppers scoped out Cyber Monday deals on their phones (up from 12% the year before) and 13% made Cyber Monday purchases by smartphone (up from 7% the year before).
- 2013: This was the year fashion websites started capitalizing on Cyber Monday in a big way with sitewide discounts. This year set the standard for the 30%-to-50% off sitewide Cyber Monday discounts you find on clothing giants like ASOS, Ann Taylor, Old Navy and more.
- 2015: Target announced it would offer 15% off sitewide on Target.com for Cyber Monday.
- 2016: The bulk of large retailers were no longer limiting themselves to a single day for “Cyber” deals. Amazon had begun calling its promo “Cyber Monday Deals Week” and releasing constantly changing daily deals. Kohl’s extended its Cyber sale into Early December.
- 2017: Black Friday and Cyber Monday were, in many ways, indistinguishable. The lowest prices on the year’s hot items (smart-home devices, gaming consoles and VR) were available online and stayed the same Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. The holiday’s growth also shows no sign of slowing with more than $4 billion in sales in 2017.
- 2018: Cyber Monday hit $6 billion in digital spending in 2018, according to Comscore. That’s a 28% uptick year over year. This year, the pattern of Black Friday and Cyber Monday blurred even more, with some retailers’ “Black Friday” and “Cyber” sales overlapping each other during Thanksgiving weekend. Many of the price points remained the same, too, throughout the weekend. The main difference? Some gaming deals were hotter (and sold out during Black Friday sales. While Cyber Monday saw some good deals (and matched Black Friday pricing on the PS4, Xbox One S and Xbox One X), the hottest Nintendo Switch Mario Kart 8 bundle was here and gone with Black Friday.
- 2019: Cyber Monday spending hit $7.9 billion in digital spending, according to Comscore. As in previous years, the day blurred with Black Friday, with many of the deep discounts starting Thanksgiving weekend and practically identically matching those offered on Black Friday. However, since so many items sold out on Black Friday, Cyber Monday represented a second chance at many top products. Even so, Black Friday stole the show when it came to pricing on extremely popular products, such as AirPods.
- 2020: In a year that saw more consumers shopping online during Thanksgiving weekend than ever before, Cyber Monday spending inched up, hitting almost $10 billion, per Comscore. As in the past, the day blurred with Black Friday, with retailers announcing (and even launching) their Cyber sales on the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend. While many Cyber Monday deals were repeats from Black Friday, 2020’s crop of Cyber Monday sales brought the best pricing seen on the new Apple Watch Series 6, as well as a unique Nintendo Switch gaming bundle (Fortnite Wildcat edition).
Cyber Monday spending
ComScore tracks e-commerce spending on Cyber Monday. Here’s its data on Cyber Monday spending since 2005:
2005: $484 million
2006: $608 million
2007: $733 million
2008: $846 million
2009: $887 million
2010: $1.028 billion
2011: $1.25 billion
2012: $1.46 billion
2013: $1.74 billion
2014: $2.6 billion
2015: $3.1 billion
2016: $3.7 billion
2017: $4.7 billion
2018: $6 billion
2019: $7.9 billion
2020: $9.81 billion
Adobe Analytics also tracks Cyber Monday spending. While the numbers are a bit different, they also show a pattern of year-over-year growth:
2016: $3.45 billion (Source: Adobe Analytics)
2017: $6.59 billion (Source: Adobe Analytics)
2018: $7.9 billion (Source: Adobe Analytics)
2019: $9.4 billion, up 19.7% YoY (Source: Adobe Analytics)
2020: $10.84 billion, up 15% YoY (Source: Adobe Analytics)
Popular Cyber Monday products
Adobe Digital Insights tracks popular Cyber Monday products:
- Top sellers in 2020 included: “Super Mario 3D All Stars,” AirPods, Vtech toys, HP and Dell computers, Chromecast.
- Top sellers in 2019 included: Nintendo Switch, VR devices, Samsung TVs, “Frozen 2” toys and L.O.L. Surprise Dolls (Source: Adobe)
- Top sellers in 2018 included: Nintendo Switch, Little Live Pets, Red Dead Redemption 2, LG TVs, drones (DJI, Air Hogs, Sky Viper), Dell laptops, FurReal Pets and Amazon Echo devices (Source: Adobe Digital Insights)
About the Author
Kristin is a savings and deals expert at BlackFriday.com. Her background in personal-finance journalism — along with her own enthusiasm for shopping and travel — drive her passion for helping consumers become savvy and informed bargain-hunters.