Posted December 5, 2008 12:10 am by with 16 comments

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By Peter Young

The specter of a credit crunch/recession has been looming large both in the US and the UK over the last year or so, with resulting bottom lines significantly affected. For many retailers this has seen Christmas come later than in previous years, with many retailers only starting to see the increases in traffic normally associated with the festive time of year.

However according to some research on both sides of the pond, things are starting to look a little brighter. A recent report by Comscore suggested Cyber Monday became the second heaviest online spending day in history (eclipsed only be that of Green Monday, December 10th 2007). For those wondering what all these days are, here’s the overview

The term Cyber Monday refers to the Monday immediately following Black Friday, the ceremonial kick-off of the holiday online shopping season in the United States between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas. [1] Whereas Black Friday is associated with traditional brick-and-mortar stores, “Cyber Monday” symbolizes a busy day for online retailers.


A number of other interest points were observed:

  • Spend overall between November 1st – December 1st was down 2% in comparison to 2007.
  • Pre-Thanksgiving sales were down 4% on 2007 figures
  • However figures post thanksgiving were up significantly – 12% – with the weekend prior to Cyber Monday seeing a 19% increase in sales.

The decline of in-store foot traffic will come as the biggest surprise to many people. Whilst there was a significant increase in the post Black Friday rush, store traffic fell by 19%–the biggest three-day drop since Comscore began tracking these figures.

Traditional online behemoths such as Amazon, eBay and Walmart consolidated their positions, despite some analysts warning that bricks-and-mortar retailer discounts could affect their sales significantly.

Whilst Cyber Monday is rarely the biggest spending day during the festive period–which tends to occur later in December–Comscore highlighted that the solid online spending showing for the first Monday of the traditional holiday shopping season was an encouraging sign for retailers.

Only time will tell if that is true…

Peter Young is a UK SEO who contributes regularly to the Holistic Search site whilst working as SEO Manager at MediaVest in Manchester, England.