The Protojournalist
8:29 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Quick Question: Is Cyber Monday Passe?

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 8:39 am

Cyber Monday. The phrase seems so quaint. Like floppy disk. Or information superhighway.

But the idea of making a big deal about everybody shopping online on a given day seems even more quaint.

So quick question: Is the notion of Cyber Monday passe?

In one way it is: The term Cyber Monday — as we know it today — dates back to the mid 2000s. One of the earliest references was on Halloween in 2005, when David Kerley of ABC News referred to a graphic showing the millions of people who planned to buy something online on the Monday following Thanksgiving. "The first Monday after Thanksgiving," Kerley said, "has earned this nickname as people head back to work, log onto their work computers with high-speed Internet connections, and then start to shop. Online retailers are even launching major sales and discounts to try and drive the rush of online traffic on this Monday."

Eight years later, laptops and WiFi and mobile gizmos allow Americans to shop Cyber Monday-style every day. As Wired magazine pointed out last go-round: Cyber Monday has evolved into Cyber Week with "a Cyber Month, a Cyber Year, a Cyber Decade, a Cyber Century to come."

Many Americans, in fact, are living a Cyber Life. So Cyber Monday is somewhat anachronistic.

In another way, it's not passe: Cyber Monday is an arbitrary day, says Brad Wilson, founder of Brad's Deals. "It is quite literally a creation. But it has become reality."

Brad, who lives in Chicago, launched his retail filter site 12 years ago when he was a college student and the online retail world was young. He thinks Cyber Monday still has lots of room to grow. As evidence, he points to Commerce Department stats that show e-commerce sales in the third quarter of 2013 amounted to 5.4 percent of total retail sales. Brad says, "Walmart's sales are roughly seven times Amazon's."

So "e-commerce has a long, long way to go," Brad adds, "as does Cyber Monday along with it."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.