Today marks the end of "CyberWeek": the week after Thanksgiving Week, when everyone is supposed to be glued to their computers, frenetically pressing "BUY". Last Monday, or CyberMonday, was the much celebrated coming out party for Internet retail, as promoted by shop.org. As someone who was involved in the very earliest Internet commerce sites and fought the e-commerce wars during my 5 years at Open Market (1995-2000), I was pretty blase about the whole affair. I figured it would be roughly flat or perhaps slightly better than last year. With housing prices crashing, the stock market stalling, Iraq in civil war (Matt Lauer said it was ok to say this, honest), how much incremental e-commerce would we really see?
Boy was I wrong.
Online shopping activity on CyberMonday was explosive. Reports showed a 26% gain in sales from the same day in 2005 and a 40x overall increase in online shopping as compared to Black Friday (the Friday after Thanksgiving). Consumers are expected to spend an average of $800 online and nearly 50% plan to make at least one holiday purchase online, up from 36% a few years ago. In total, an estimated 61 million people will shop from work this holiday season, 10 million more than last year. One of my portfolio companies, Mall Networks, powered the CyberMonday.com website and gleefully reported explosive traffic numbers this week.
With this kind of growth, it’s no wonder there are many companies pursuing "E-Commerce 2.0" strategies. Nearly 12 years later, I’m pleased to see that this time, it’s real.