Still on top: Cy­ber Mon­day sales on track to hit record

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - BUSINESS - BY JOSEPH PISANI

Cy­ber Mon­day is still hold­ing up as the big­gest on­line shop­ping day of the year, even though many of the same deals have been avail­able on­line for weeks and the name harks back to the days of dial-up modems.

Shop­pers are ex­pected to spend a record $9.4 bil­lion on pur­chases made on their phones and com­put­ers Mon­day, up about 19% from last year’s Cy­ber Mon­day, ac­cord­ing to Adobe An­a­lyt­ics, which tracks trans­ac­tions at 80 of the top 100 U.S. on­line stores.

The busiest time is ex­pected to be in the hour be­fore mid­night, as peo­ple race to take ad­van­tage of dis­counts be­fore they dis­ap­pear.

Cy­ber Mon­day was cre­ated by re­tail­ers in 2005 to get peo­ple to shop on­line at a time when high-speed in­ter­net was rare and the iPhone didn’t ex­ist. The idea was to en­cour­age peo­ple to shop at work, where faster connection­s made it eas­ier to browse, when they re­turned from the Thanks­giv­ing break.

“It’s some­what an­ti­quated,” said Rob Garf, vice pres­i­dent of strat­egy and in­sights at cloud com­put­ing com­pany Sales­force, which tracks shop­ping be­hav­ior of the on­line stores that use its plat­form. “But re­tail­ers are still us­ing it as a big mile­stone and driv­ing heavy dis­counts.”

At least one brand played up Cy­ber Mon­day’s ori­gins: Bono­bos, the men’s cloth­ing seller owned by Wal­mart Inc., pho­tographed mod­els pos­ing with clunky com­put­ers and black-and­white TVs for its site.

“Boot up the dial-up,” one of its Cy­ber Mon­day ads said.

On av­er­age, re­tail­ers of­fered 30% off on Mon­day, the steep­est dis­counts of the year, ac­cord­ing to Sales­force.

Some have been of­fer­ing deals for days. Ama­zon started of­fer­ing Cy­ber Mon­day deals on Satur­day, call­ing the three-day ex­trav­a­ganza “Cy­ber Mon­day Week­end.”

Wal­mart kicked off on­line dis­counts for the hol­i­days a week be­fore Hal­loween. It was a way to com­bat the short­ened hol­i­day shop­ping sea­son.

Thanks­giv­ing is al­ways cel­e­brated on the fourth Thurs­day of Novem­ber. This year, that was Nov. 28, cut­ting the typ­i­cal time be­tween Thanks­giv­ing and Christ­mas by nearly a week, mak­ing it the short­est stretch be­tween the two hol­i­days since 2013.

Adobe said the best­selling toys on Cy­ber Mon­day were those re­lated to the “Frozen 2” movie, “Paw Pa­trol” show and the LOL Sur­prise brand. TVs from Sam­sung and lap­tops by Ap­ple were also hot sell­ers. And Ama­zon’s de­vices, such as its voice­ac­ti­vated Echo, did well, too.

Not all on­line shop­ping ended with a box be­ing de­liv­ered. De­spite fright­ful weather in parts of the U.S. this week­end, buy­ing on­line and pick­ing up in a store has be­come a pop­u­lar op­tion, grow­ing 43% so far from last year.

“These ser­vices are breath­ing new life into phys­i­cal stores,” Adobe said. “And we ex­pect growth to climb as we get closer to Christ­mas.”

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