The first Cyber Monday officially came in 2005 as growing interest in online shopping moved online retailers to offer sales and other incentives as alternatives to the traditional Black Friday. Cyber Mondays were also a way for smaller businesses, or online-only retailers to cash in on the pre-holiday shopping season.

Cyber Monday quickly became the biggest online shopping day with over $10 billion in sales reported in 2020.

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What is Cyber Monday and how does it work?

Cyber Monday is one of the busiest online shopping days and one of the kickoff days of the Christmas shopping season. It marks the end of the Thanksgiving weekend and in some ways has surpassed Black Friday sales in terms of volume of shoppers and amount spent.

The way it works is simple. Online retailers and brick-and-mortar stores hold special online sales with discounts for items that may only be found when you shop on the store’s website. Other incentives may include free or discounted shipping, special buys, and other offers.

How can I get the best deals for Cyber Monday?

Subscribing to a store’s newsletter is a great way to learn about their upcoming sales and discounts including what they will offer for Cyber Monday. Stores like Walmart and Target also have circulars that will be available before Black Friday so that you can make plans for big discounts on both of these shopping days.

If you are on the newsletter list you may also get special offers as part of the email marketing campaigns that may include extra discounts or give you advance notice about big-ticket items like electronics, furniture, or jewelry.

Why do they call it Cyber Monday?

The name was given to the sales that were being held on the Monday after Thanksgiving. A lot of people were starting to take advantage of online shopping and retailers took the opportunity to cash in on that. Cyber Monday sales are now held in nearly 30 other countries around the world.

Is Cyber Monday the same as Black Friday?

In some ways, yes it is. The sales are still part of the holiday season and people tend to overspend because they get caught up in the action. But Cyber Monday is different in a lot of ways as well.

  • You can avoid crowds by shopping at home.
  • There are no long lines to stand in.
  • You can compare prices from several retailers in real-time, without leaving your home.
  • Some Black Friday sales are still offered on Cyber Monday.

How Long Does Cyber Monday last?

The length of the sale depends on each store. Some retailers have a Black Friday sale and a Cyber Monday sale for a total of 2 days of discounts. Some have a sale that starts on Wednesday before Thanksgiving, lasts through the Thanksgiving weekend, and then ends on Cyber Monday.

Other stores have Cyber week with various discounts on items for the entire week. For some, the sales may have a theme for every day like electronics on Monday, toys on Tuesday, etc.

Is Cyber Monday every Monday until Christmas?

Not usually. Cyber Monday is almost always the Monday after Thanksgiving. Some stores may have a sale every Monday just to keep people shopping.

Are things really cheaper on Cyber Monday?

As with any marketing term “Cyber Monday” does not always mean big savings. But many consumers are smart and plan their shopping days ahead, finding every discount, coupon, and hidden savings option so that they get their own version of Cyber Monday savings even if they are not offered.

Does Cyber Monday mean online only?

For some items or stores, it may mean that the special price is only available online. Online exclusives are a great way to save money for the customer and for the business. Some retailers even encourage people to shop the special savings online through additional marketing and marked-down prices.

Who participates in Cyber Monday?

On the business side, businesses from small, independent retailers to large corporations may have some Cyber Monday deals to offer. Small businesses have their own version of this retail holiday called Small Business Saturday. It is starting to have a greater impact on consumers’ spending habits and is becoming a shopping holiday in its own right.

The stores that have the most anticipated Cyber Monday sales include:

  • Amazon
  • Target
  • Walmart
  • Best Buy
  • Kohl’s

On the other side, a lot of the sales from this day are typically from a smartphone so having a mobile-friendly website is a must. People may prefer to shop online for a lot of reasons but for the majority (68%) convenience is the top reason.

Are electronics cheaper on Cyber Monday?

Some electronics such as Android devices and TVs may be cheaper on Cyber Monday at some retailers. This is why it is so important to start monitoring the sales ads, emails, and websites for information about upcoming sales and to make plans accordingly. It may be necessary to search for specific deals by name to get the best price.

Protip: some stores as well as some credit cards do offer price adjustments so that if you do get nervous and buy that TV on Black Friday and then spot the same one for much cheaper the following Monday, you can get the difference refunded to you. Note that some stores do suspend this policy during this sales period.

Wrapping it up

Retailers learned that people may not always be ready or able to shop when Black Friday takes place. They also learned that those same people preferred to shop online and that offering them discounts would mean a high volume of sales for that day. Cyber Monday now accounts for such a large percentage of holiday shopping revenue, that stores have cut back or eliminated Black Friday sales completely.

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