Cyber Monday is an American term that people have tried to import to the UK, but its British definition remains vague. In the US it refers to the Monday following Black Friday, which itself is the day after Thanksgiving and considered to be the start of the pre-Christmas shopping season. Over in Blighty we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, so Cyber Monday has been translated to mean the busiest of the pre-Christmas online shopping days. The problem with this rather loose definition is that opinions differ as to when it actually occurs.
Looking at UK Internet visits to Shopping and Classifieds websites in the run up to last Christmas, Cyber Monday actually shared the pre-Christmas online shopping gold medal with Cyber Sunday. Sunday December 6th and Monday December 7th were the joint busiest days for online retailers in the run up to Christmas 2009, as the chart below illustrates.
Making the comparison to this year, that would mean that Cyber Sunday and Monday are likely to fall next week on December 5th and 6th. Last weekend was certainly the busiest of the pre-Christmas season so far this year, but the clue that we are not quite there yet is the comparison between traffic levels on Sunday (November 28th) and Monday (November 29th). For most of the year, UK Internet visits to retailers peak on the Sunday and drop off on the Monday, and only on Cyber Sunday / Monday do the traffic levels match. As the chart below illustrates, this didn’t happen this Sunday and Monday, implying that Cyber Monday is still to come – most likely next Monday.
Looking at the data on the most visited retail sectors on Sunday, department stores (which includes Amazon as well as the more traditional high street retailers such as John Lewis, Debenhams, etc.). After Auctions, which is dominated by eBay, the next biggest category is Apparel and Accessories, pointing towards the continuing popularity of online fashion retailers.
Stay tuned to the blog and our Twitter feed for the latest figures next week after the actual Cyber Monday.