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What Is Cyber Monday?

Cyber Monday
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The holiday season is an excellent time for bargain shoppers. December, in particular, is going to be busier than ever with Cyber Monday deals kicking off on December 2. It's the first time since 2014 that Cyber Monday will fall in December.   

But what exactly is Cyber Monday and how has it managed to become one the biggest retail days in such a short span of time? Here's a close look at the history behind Cyber Monday and why the retail holiday will matter more than ever in 2019. 

The origins of Cyber Monday

The term "Cyber Monday" was coined by Shop.org, a division of the National Retail Federation, in 2005. It was a way for online retailers to participate in the Black Friday deals frenzy, which at the time was mainly a brick-and-mortar event. Since its debut, it's grown into a massive retail holiday that in 2019 could eclipse Black Friday. 

From a consumer point of view, however, Cyber Monday is similar to Black Friday. Retailers flood shoppers with hundreds of deals and the best items generally sell out in seconds. The main difference is that most consumers will shop from work via their smartphone on Cyber Monday (since they'll likely be at work when the best sales go live). Black Friday, by comparison, sees a mix of online and in-store shoppers. 

How big is Cyber Monday?

In 2018, Cyber Monday sales surged to $7.9 billion, an increase of 19.3% year-over-year, according to data from Adobe Analytics. More then half of consumers shopped from their smartphone and click-and-collect orders (orders you buy online, but pick up in-store) were up 65%. 

Fast forward to 2019 and a new holiday survey by consulting firm Deloitte indicates that more consumers will shop Cyber Monday than Black Friday this year. It's an interesting shift given that Cyber Monday is only 15 years old. By comparison, Black Friday has been used to describe the sales after Thanksgiving since 1975. 

Where to find the best Cyber Monday discounts

Over 900 retailers are expected to offer Cyber Monday discounts this year. Among the biggest names are Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Target, and Newegg. 

For Amazon, Cyber Monday tends to be its biggest shopping day of the year surpassing Black Friday and even Amazon Prime Day. Amazon rarely discloses exact numbers, but it stated that Cyber Monday 2018 was "the single biggest shopping day in the company's history with more products ordered worldwide than any other day." The retailer said customers worldwide ordered more than 18 million toys and more than 13 million fashion items on Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. Make sure to check out our top 5 Cyber Monday predictions and sales to watch this year. 

When to shop on Cyber Monday

The best times to shop on Cyber Monday vary among websites, though many companies follow the same standards as Black Friday. With the shorter holiday season, we predict some Cyber Monday discounts will begin on the evening of Black Friday. 

However, the bulk of consumers are likely to shop Sunday night and early Monday morning. That means you can expect to see the best deals early Monday by 6am. Additional deals are unveiled the days after Cyber Monday, but the best deals will take place on Cyber Monday itself.