When Cyber Monday isn't Cyber Monday

By: John McGarvey

Date: 12 December 2011

Online retailers often take on temporary warehouse staff at Christmas

Online retailers often take on temporary warehouse staff at Christmas

'Cyber Monday sees Brits spend £19m AN HOUR on the biggest online shopping day of the year' screams the rarely subtle Daily Mail. You've probably encountered the hype over the last couple of weeks: in the lead-up to Christmas, a flurry of media outlets have proclaimed the first Monday in December as the busiest online shopping day of the year, giving it the moniker of 'Cyber Monday'.

But does Cyber Monday really exist? Or is it an invention of PR firms and retailers, designed to generate coverage and give their sales a boost at the start of the Christmas shopping period?

Cyber Monday is different in different places

According to Mobile Fun, its busiest day of the year isn't the first Monday in December at all. It's the second. And that means for them, today is Cyber Monday.

What's more, the online retailer reckons peak online shopping days vary across Europe. Going by orders placed on its website, The Netherlands has its Cyber Monday on 29 November (but then their main day for giving gifts is 6 December), while online orders don't peak in Spain until 2 January.

"For many online retailers, peak online shopping days pre-Christmas vary across Europe and don't all fall on 5 December," explained Mark Riley, Mobile Fun's head of marketing. "We find that if a retailer offers late ordering and reasonably priced next day delivery, shoppers are happy to order up to the last minute."

Ignore the Cyber Monday hype – it's about your customers

If you're running an online business and currently dealing with the Christmas rush, perhaps the key point is to remember that even if Cyber Monday does exist for most retailers (and that's certainly questionable, given the selective sales data that many release), it might not hold true for yours.

Sales trends vary by country, industry and quite possibly by individual business. So if you want this to be a bumper Christmas for your online shop, forget about Cyber Monday and focus on keeping items in stock, providing great service and not letting your online shop crash. And keep going right until your last delivery date, because there are always people who leave it late.

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