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The birth of Cyber Monday

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Kai Ryssdal: Depending on which article you read today, Black Friday sales at major retailers were either just fine, thanks, or completely disappointing. Today, though, is Cyber Monday — the day we all shop online on company time. Black Friday, just easier. No parking hassles. No lines at the register. Sally Herships has more on the birth of a pseudo-shopping event.

SALLY HERSHIPS: It’s 2005, George W. Bush is president, the New England Patriots win the Super Bowl, You Tube is born. And the National Retail Federation invents Cyber Monday. It’s supposed to do for online retailers what Black Friday does for brick-and-mortar ones: create a bargain-hunting frenzy.

John Lawton is president of Home Depot online.

JOHN LAWTON: Cyber Monday will be one of our top two or three sales days of the year.

Last year, consumers spent $846 million on the big day. This year, deep discounts on things like flat-screen TVs and clothing are expected to push sales to $900 million. Still, not everyone likes the shopping holiday.

Pete Fader is a marketing professor at Wharton.

PETE FADER: Most mom-and-pop retailers are still afraid of the Internet. And don’t like the idea that someone might not avoid coming to the store or buy less in the store because instead on Cyber Monday they’re going to Web sites.

Fader says focusing so much attention on one day, whether it’s Black Friday or Cyber Monday, can be risky.

FADER: It’s a terrible thing. It screws up manufacturing cycles, it’s tough for the retailers, it’s hard from a staffing standpoint.

Try telling that to Stephanie Nelson. She’s what you might call an uber-consumer. She founded the Web site

STEPHANIE NELSON: What matters most to the shopper is saving money. So if we can save more money, I don’t care what they call the holiday. Cyber Monday is my favorite holiday.

Even if retailers made it up.

I’m Sally Herships for Marketplace.

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