If you decide to skip out on the crowds at brick-and-mortar retailers today, there are still plenty of stores offering online deals. And even if you decide to put off holiday shopping for a little bit longer, Cyber Monday, a marketing term for online sales on the Monday after Thanksgiving, traditionally offers a lot of opportunities to find some good deals.
But while the Internet (and online shopping) have been around for a while now, the term "Cyber Monday" is a relatively recent invention. The National Retail Foundation's Shop.org coined the term in a press release in 2005, writing:
While traditional retailers will be monitoring store traffic and sales on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving), online retailers have set their sights on something different: Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, which is quickly becoming one of the biggest online shopping days of the year. For the past few years, online retailers have found that sales on the Monday after Thanksgiving have been creeping higher, giving retailers an additional reason to be jolly during the ceremonial kickoff to the holiday season.
As more and more people have become comfortable with online shopping, Cyber Monday sales have crept up. While online sales in the 2005 Cyber Monday were $484 million, according to digital research agency comScore, by 2012 they had more than tripled to $1.465 billion -- making last Cyber Monday the heaviest online spending day in history. And many online retailers have extended the formerly one-day affair into a "Cyber Week" of deals. Last year, that week contained three individual days with online sales of more than $1 billion.
Thanksgiving and Black Friday online sales have also been on the rise. In 2012, online sales on Thanksgiving grew 17 percent over the previous year, and Black Friday online sales grew nearly 21 percent. However, online sales for Cyber Monday, Black Friday and Thanksgiving still pale in comparison to in-store sales over the Thanksgiving weekend, which reached $59.1 billion last year, according to the National Retail Foundation.
But this Cyber Monday could be the biggest on record -- comScore is predicting $2 billion in online sales from computers and mobile devices.