Does Cyber Monday really matter?

Did you miss out on two of the biggest shopping days of the year? No worries, more deals are on the way.

Donna Tam Staff Writer / News
Donna Tam covers Amazon and other fun stuff for CNET News. She is a San Francisco native who enjoys feasting, merrymaking, checking her Gmail and reading her Kindle.
Donna Tam
2 min read

One of Amazon's fulfillment centers on the eve of Cyber Monday. James Martin/CNET

Getting up before the sun for a spot of frenzied shopping on Thanksgiving weekend is starting to feel so last decade. That's why some retailers are keeping online sales going long after the big holiday shopping days, experts say.

Granted, the weekend did score big numbers, overall. Black Friday sales online surged 26 percent to more than $1.5 billion, while online shoppers spent nearly $6.6 billion over the long holiday weekend, according to ComScore. Even so, some of the largest US stores did not see the sales they'd hoped for on Black Friday, the day that traditionally pushed retailers into the black.

"Bigger retailers have not done great -- this wasn't a huge black Friday," said Ryan Urban, CEO of Bounce Exchange, which monitors abandoned online shopping carts.

As a result, some of the largest US retailers, which have both online and offline stores, are extending their online promotions for the rest of this week and into the next. This will likely include big discounts on electronics, especially big-ticket items like TVs, said Urban. Shoppers should also check out clearance sections, since many brands put products on clearance after Cyber Monday.

The problem may be retailers' own doing -- a direct result of promotions and discounts well before Thanksgiving.

"Online retailers have kind of ruined the Black Friday fun," said Scot Wingo, CEO of ChannelAdvisor, which provides analytics and other services to online retailers.

Cyber Monday, which is dedicated to online discounts, has long outpaced Black Friday. This year was no different, according to ComScore. Sales on Monday rose 17 percent, to more than $2 billion.

But while shoppers continue to spend big the Monday after Thanksgiving, their shopping habits have evolved, said Wingo. Where the peak purchasing period was between noon and the last few hours of work, it's now after work through midnight. Cyber Monday started as a way to woo shoppers looking for deals from their work computers.

"It used to be you did this because your fastest Internet connection was at work, now my phone's Internet connection is faster," Wingo said. "And now there's no huge rush."

This is good news for consumers, especially since many of the deals post-Thanksgiving will be just as good, according to Urban. While in-store door-buster deals will still get you the biggest savings, online deals are less discounted.

"Outside of those door-buster deals, you're going to see the same things happen this week and potentially next week," he said.