Cyber Monday: Myth and Reality

Do shoppers really flock to online stores on the Monday after Thanksgiving?

ByABC News
February 19, 2009, 8:51 AM

Nov. 26, 2007— -- Forget all those big store lines seen the other day for Black Friday.

Many Americans will start their holiday shopping today when they sit down in front of their office computers. Welcome to Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday?

While not as famous as Black Friday, retailers just a few years ago invented Cyber Monday as a way to create buzz around online shopping.

The National Retail Federation's online division,, coined the term in November 2005.

Some retailers had noticed an uptick in online sales, and the federation decided to brand it. Now, two years later, more and more stores are playing off the Cyber Monday theme and offering sales.

"It's a starting point. It's a kickoff point where many retailers have special deals and bargains," said Scott Krugman, spokesman for the National Retail Federation. "Retailers are having special Cyber Monday sales, and the way I see it, if retailers are attaching a sale and calling it Cyber Monday, it's true." said that 72 percent of online retailers are planning a special promotion for Cyber Monday this year, up from nearly 43 percent just two years ago.

But don't confuse the name with big purchases. Cyber Monday is by no means the busiest day for online sales, just as Black Friday is not the biggest day of sales for most stores.

"Black Friday is a great day for creating energy, buzz and excitement about the holiday season," Krugman said.

So, what is the busiest shopping day of the year?

The Saturday before Christmas.

"We're a nation of procrastinators," Krugman said. "No matter how good Black Friday is, it's going to be the week before and the week after Christmas that tells the tale for the industry. That's where the big bulk of the spending occurs."

The retail federation estimates that holiday sales this year will rise 4 percent to $474.5 billion. Only about 7 percent of that spending occurs online.