I plead guilty to enjoying a cold beer or two, and I’ve watched with amazement as the decade-long bull market in the craft beer industry shows no signs of abating.
Nearly 97 million Americans planned to shop on Cyber Monday yesterday--the official kickoff to the online holiday shopping season--and retailers were ready to deliver to bargain hunters, according to a Shop.org survey conducted by Big Research.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Cyber Monday shoppers, up from 85 million in 2008, were offered a number of online deals this year, with nearly nine in 10 retailers (87.1 percent) offering a special Cyber Monday promotion, up from 83.7 percent last year and 72.2 percent in 2007, the survey showed.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> "With more people shopping on Cyber Monday this year, and an increasing number of retailers offering promotions, this was the largest--and most important--Cyber Monday yet," Shop.org Executive Director Scott Silverman said in a media release.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> The survey also found that 41.5 percent of those making a purchase on Cyber Monday were planning to shop early in the morning, and a sizeable number of Cyber Monday shoppers planned to shop in the early evening (32.9 percent) or late evening (22.7 percent).<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> This shift in spending coincides with a decline in people shopping from the office. According to the survey, 91.5 percent of Cyber Monday shoppers planned to shop from home on Cyber Monday, while just 13.5 percent planned to shop from work.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> "Since retailers began highlighting Cyber Monday promotions five years ago, Americans' spending patterns have changed. More families have high-speed Internet access at home and don't need to rely on their work computers to make holiday purchases, which makes the early morning and evening hours crucial for retail sales," Silverman said in the release.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> According to a similar Shop.org survey, the most popular Cyber Monday promotions were expected to be specific deals (42.9 percent), one-day sales (32.9 percent) and free shipping on all purchases (15.7 percent).<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Half of retailers distributed promotions and deals to shoppers through a special Cyber Monday e-mail.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> In addition, 3.8 percent of Cyber Monday shoppers were to have shopped from a mobile device such as an iPhone or a Blackberry, while a small fraction of shoppers (1.5 percent) said they would shop from another location such as a coffee shop or a friend's house.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Shop.org's CyberMonday.com, which features holiday promotions and special savings from more than 700 retailers, had 15.8 million visits yesterday, an increase of 8 percent from Cyber Monday 2008. With many Americans waking up to shop for bargains, the largest hour for traffic was the 1.2 million hits from 9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m. EST, according to Mall Networks, which powers the site. As another indication that people were shopping from home, site traffic from 5:00 p.m. EST to midnight increased by 19 percent from 2008.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> All CyberMonday.com proceeds received by Shop.org benefit its Ray M. Greenly Scholarship Fund, which helps students pursuing careers in retail. Ray Greenly was a vice president at Shop.org before passing away from cancer in 2005. More than $900,000 has been raised for the scholarship fund through CyberMonday.com.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> "While many online retailers are breathing a sigh of relief after a successful Cyber Monday, they will quickly shift their focus to finding ways to bring shoppers online for the rest of the holiday season," Silverman said in the release. "Many Web sites will experience another huge surge in traffic the week of Dec. 14, when shipping offers begin to expire, so companies are taking lessons-learned from Cyber Monday and planning to implement minor changes over the next few weeks."<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Shop.org, a division of the National Retail Federation, is the world's leading membership community for digital retail. Founded in 1996, Shop.org's 600 members include the 10 largest retailers in the United States and more than 60 percent of the Internet Retailer Top 100 E-Retailers.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <a href="http://www.nationaljewelernetwork.com" target="_blank">— Nielsen Business Media</a>