Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday

The term “Black Friday,” which refers to the busy retail shopping day following Thanksgiving, was coined in the 1960s by the Philadelphia Police Department to describe the heavy pedestrian and vehicle traffic that descended upon the city’s downtown area.

It has since come to mean many different things to many different people: from the employees who work long, exhausting hours in retail stores; to the shoppers who jostle and race with each other to get a hot new toy or great bargain; to the bookkeepers who are relieved by the fact that their companies are finally turning a profit that year, going from “red” to “black” ink on the strength of post-Thanksgiving sales.

The somewhat cheerier phrase “Cyber Monday” came upon the scene in 2005 after, part of the National Retail Federation, identified significant increases in online sales on the Monday after Thanksgiving in 2004. This phenomenon was explained as the result of people getting back to the office on the week following Thanksgiving and shopping online instead of working. (Note: I was one of the people on the bandwagon that year.) Well, at least they’re still contributing to the economy, right?

Despite its relative newness — and this year’s rough economy — Cyber Monday had very real results this year. Research organization comScore reported that online sales reached approximately $846 million on Dec. 1, a 15 percent increase over Cyber Monday 2007. Additionally, Nielsen Online found Web traffic to the retail Web sites on its…



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