Cyber Monday sales jump 19 percent

Micaela Cashman

This year’s Cyber Monday proved successful to business as sales rose 19 percent compared with 2009. The day made its mark as the biggest Internet shopping day in history, signaling a slowly recovering economy.

Additionally, online sales rose 31.1 percent Monday from the online sales on Black Friday.

Liesl Eathington, economics professor at Iowa State, had predicted sales would be up. She especially cited online sales, as she said people make more impulse buys on the Internet than in stores. These impulse buys, Eathington said, tend to be more personal purchases, not gifts.

Laura Smarandescu, assistant professor of marketing at Iowa State and director of Iowa State’s Regional Economics and Community Analysis Program, added that impulse purchases are more abundant because online sales often have time limits or limited inventory.

“In these scenarios, online shopping is more likely to result in a ‘buy now’ decision, as many Web sites have also adopted one-click shopping,” she said.

The average order made on Cyber Monday was $194.89, up nearly $15 from last year and $5 from Black Friday.

Shopping via mobile phone also increased by an astounding 310 percent on Black Friday, according to PayPal.

Some sales were so huge that sites such as Younkers and Express were forced to turn customers away, with alerts saying, “We’ve reached our customer capacity. Please try back soon.”

Eathington stressed that while the economy is slowly recovering, the rise in sales is due more to a rise in customer confidence during the holiday season. She pointed out that more than 52,000 Iowa households received food assistance payments in October, an increase of 10 percent compared to 2009. Additionally, there have been more than 8,300 filings for bankruptcy since January 2009.