After millions of people across the nation line up outside retailers for Black Friday, millions more will plop down at their work computers for Cyber Monday today.
According to BusinessWeek, digital specialists at the National Retail Foundation created Cyber Monday in 2005. The shopping holiday was meant to entice office employees who were still riding the high of Black Friday and were able to shop from their work computers.
It has since become the centerpiece of online holiday shopping.
In 2005, shoppers spent a total of $484 million nationwide, comScore reports. In 2011, they spent $1.25 billion, making it the biggest online spending day in history.
Retailers like Wal-Mart are going one step further, advertising Cyber Monday bargains on Saturday, Nov. 24, and keeping them open on their site until Dec. 2. The retailer’s biggest deals will still take place Nov. 26, but shoppers will get all sorts of discounts throughout “Cyber Week.”
And a shop.org survey suggests that other retailers are following suit. Approximately 97 percent of online retailers will offer deals during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, up from about 90 percent in 2011.
And 85 percent of retailers will offer deals on Cyber Monday, up from 78 percent last year.
Fairfax County officials are attempting to educate residents on how to best take advantage of Cyber Monday deals, and have posted a number of shopping tips on the county Website.
“Shop around for deals online, in the mall and by mail,” said Verda Johnson, a representative from the county’s Consumer Affairs Branch, during an online chat about safe holiday shopping Tuesday. “Compare prices, use coupons, and look for price-matching offers. Before buying, read and understand refund and return policies and warranties, and be sure to read the fine print. Give gift receipts so everyone will have happy returns.”
The county encourages shoppers to use Websites like cybermonday.com, which compile deals from more than 800 retailers.