The Monday following Thanksgiving and Black Friday has been known for a while as "Cyber Monday." That's the day when people who are sick of the story crowds, or, like my friend Tom Barlow, never ventured into them, go shopping online. But now that so many of us have high-speed internet at home, will the trend materialize?
The term, coined in 2005 by shop.org, has always been somewhat dubious. It is really busy, but not the busiest day. Last year, according to comScore, online shoppers spent $700 million on Cyber Monday; that's about as much spent on Thanksgiving and Black Friday combined. So there is a definite bump.
The premise of Cyber Monday is that people go shopping online once they get back to their fancy work computer with high-speed internet access. But are we really the technologically behind that we need to go into an office to have a fast computer? The Pew Internet and American Life Project says more than half--55%--of Americans now have high speed internet at home.That's up from 42% three years ago when Cyber Monday was born. Four in five Americans who have an internet connection at home have a high speed connection. (The rest, including my mom, are still hanging onto dial-up.)
I'm as much for screwing around at work as the next person, but do we really need to do all our errands on company time? According to BIGresearch survey conducted for Shop.org, as a matter of fact we do. They say 56% of workers with internet access will do their shopping there--up from 45% in 2005. Of course, the office does offer some privacy from your family, the people you're buying for, so it's somewhat understandable.
More people are becoming converts to Cyber Monday. It is less crazed than anything at the mall. You feel less managed and manipulated by stores. Though, PC World says 84% of online stores will have specials on Cyber Monday this year. Still, it's calm and controlled, not a frenzy. MSNBC reports that experts expect this year's online retail season to be slow, even though there are now all kinds of online shopping aids, like twitter feeds on which sites are slow or search engines that let you browse across stores.
Will progress mark the end of Cyber Monday?