Boxes move along a conveyor belt at the Amazon.com Inc. fulfillment center on Cyber Monday in Robbinsville, New Jersey.
Cyber Monday, the scrawny digital cousin of Black Friday, had a growth spurt this year; the online retail-shopping event broke $3 billion in sales, according to analysts at the Adobe Digital Index. Quickly becoming a popular alternative to the traditional hazards and/or stress of Black Friday, consumers rushed out of the gate, breaking half a billion in sales by 10 a.m. and crashing several major websites along the way.
The event saw a 50 percent increase in sales over the last high watermark, set in 2014, of $2 billion. While Black Friday is nowhere close to being dislodged as the gold-standard day of consumption in the U.S.— reaching $10 billion in sales this year — the participation rate in Cyber Monday, especially among millennials, is driving the steady growth for the online shopping spree.
A majority of online purchases were funneled into just 1 percent of available categories, namely (unsurprisingly) electronics. Computers, televisions, phones, video games, and other electronics were snapped up, causing websites and web providers to crash. Target, which offered 15 percent off on all of its stock, was periodically unavailable to visitors over the course of the day. The company reported that Monday’s traffic was twice the rate of their previous busiest day ever. Time Warner Cable probably caused an epidemic of headaches for eager consumers across the Midwest, with outages in Kentucky, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
Some of those who made it through the online obstacle course and got to the checkout screen still ended up with their hearts broken thanks to frequent out-of-stock messages. That rush to the shelves can’t always be avoided from the comfort of home.