Why Monday Is E-Retailers’ Favorite Day of the Week

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For most employees, Monday means time to get back to the workaday grind. And it looks like retail therapy is often the prescription consumers use to cope with a “case of the Mondays.” The first day of the workweek is also almost always the biggest day of the week for online shopping — even after the holiday season.

On Cyber Monday of 2011, consumers hit an all-time high for online shopping, spending $1.25 billion. One week later, e-sales totaled $1.17 billion, and a week after that, on the day dubbed Green Monday, shoppers spent another $1.13 billion online. The string of Mondays rank as the three biggest days of the year for e-sales, all of them topping 2011′s Free Shipping Day on Dec. 16, when more than 2,000 retailers offered complimentary shipping on orders. (Free Shipping Day was no slouch, either, pulling in $1.07 billion in e-sales.)

Monday, Dec. 19, wound up as yet another monster day for online shopping, partly because it was the last day that many e-retailers would guarantee free shipping that would arrive by Christmas Eve.

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But why is Monday such a big deal in terms of online deals? What is it about Mondays that make consumers turn to their computers and shop? Friday, one might think, would be a big day for online shopping because, at the tail end of the workweek, it’s the classic day to slack off.

But Mondays are bigger for online spenders — during the holiday season, for sure, but also throughout the year. The New York Times Bits blog asked a few e-retailers why this is so:

“Not just during the holidays, but during the rest of the year, Monday is your strongest day and your weekends are your quietest time,” said Mark Vadon, a founder of Blue Nile, the online jewelry retailer, and Zulily, a flash sale site for kids’ clothing and gear.

The reason, he said, is that people spend less time on their computers over their weekend, but when they get to the office on Monday, they want to shop.

Online shopping can be an indulgent way to ease back into the workweek, or an expedient means to finish up those errands you couldn’t get to over the weekend. During the holidays, online shopping on Mondays is especially tempting, what with retailers promoting sales for Cyber Monday, Green Monday and such.

What about Monday, Dec. 26? Actually, that was an exception. Most people had the day off, so fewer people needed to resort to online shopping as a means to avoid work.

That’s not to say consumers took the day off from shopping. Because Dec. 26 fell on a Monday this year, it was a huge day for hitting brick-and-mortar stores to make exchanges and use gift cards.

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One way or another, it seems, Mondays are for shopping.

Tuttle is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @bradrtuttle. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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