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The History of Cyber Monday

Admit it. You’re planning on doing some online holiday shopping today. You’re not alone. Americans are projected to spend over $3 billion stuffing their stockings with Cyber Monday deals.

Who do we have to thank for this manufactured holiday? Marketers of course. Speaking of making up a holiday, remind me to tell you the story of Kid’s Day sometime.

How did Cyber Monday come to be? We can thank Ellen Davis, senior vice president of research and strategic initiatives for the National Retail Federation, who coined the term back in 2005.

According to Reader’s Digest (Fun Fact: is one of the most notable WordPress websites), the group noticed a recurring spike in online revenue and traffic on the Monday following Thanksgiving. They believed it was because people were making purchases from their computers at work, where the Internet connections were faster and their kids couldn’t get a sneak peek at their gifts. 

In a stroke of marketing genius, the group issued a press release a few days prior to Thanksgiving, 2005, where they introduced the term “Cyber Monday.” According to the release, 77 percent of online retailers had seen their sales “increase substantially” on Cyber Monday the previous year. Davis had considered calling the new online shopping holiday Black Monday, after Black Friday, or Blue Monday, after blue hyperlinks. But the former also refers to the day world stock markets crashed, and the latter sounded too depressing.

That first Monday, online sales reached almost a half-billion dollars, a 26 percent increase from the previous year. Year after year, Cyber Monday became more recognized, shoppers bought into the deals and discounts, but it didn’t quite live up to the promise of “Biggest Online Shopping Day of the Year.” In 2014, that all changed. That year Cyber Monday became the biggest online shopping day in the country, raking in over $2 billion in sales.

If Black Friday and Thanksgiving sales are any indicators, this could be the biggest Cyber Monday yet. U.S. retailers online sales were up 17.9 percent from a year ago, according to Adobe Analytics, which measures transactions at the largest 100 U.S. web retailers.

Go ahead. Shop those Cyber Monday deals. We won’t tell. Now, where was I? Ah, yes, back to my Amazon Wish List.


Jason is a Partner and the CEO at Revel, a B2B marketing agency. He is a diehard baseball fan who loves his Detroit Tigers. Family vacations often revolve around seeing games in different MLB ballparks around the country – they’ve been to 21 so far and counting. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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