Longtime Fool Rick Munarriz recently noted the demise of Cyber Monday, the kick-off of the online retailing season. However, like the death of Mark Twain, these reports might have been premature. According to comScore Networks, online sales last Monday soared to $608 million, a 26% gain from the same day in 2005.
According to Hitwise.com, which tracks Web activity, Cyber Monday Internet traffic was 13.3% higher than 2005. Interestingly, Cyber Monday Web activity was below levels earlier seen during the Thanksgiving holidays, but e-commerce sales were still the highest for any day in history.
Yes, Virginia, there is hype to Cyber Monday. It even has its own website -- www.cybermonday.com. The hoopla must be working. The site, with over 300,000 hits on Monday, gives consumers a single online place to look for deals from retailers like J.C. Penney
The online shopping king is still Amazon, but many of the other traffic leaders were the online divisions of traditional retailers such as Wal-Mart
Monday's unexpected results will go down (at least until next year) as the biggest single day of e-commerce sales. Is this just a flash in the pan where retailers juice the results with specials, or will it spur stronger holiday sales? In a month we will know.
Online retailing will never replace the shopping experience, but there are people like me who despise shopping and who spend more money with keystrokes and a computer. That has to be good for e-commerce.
From the initial data, the brick-and-mortar retailers like Wal-Mart, Circuit City, and J.C. Penney appear to be utilizing the Internet as a holiday marketing tool and a way to reach customers. The merchants that make the shopping experience seamless like Amazon will have more growth opportunities. Cyber Monday may be hype, but online shopping is like rock and roll -- it will never die.
Fool contributor Buz Livingston, CFP appreciates your feedback. He owns none of the stocks listed and buys the bulk of his consumer goods online.