Today's Cyber Monday, which means online retailers are marking down prices left and right to bring in customers. Their customers, though, are all at work, and taking out time from their jobs to shop the special markdowns that only happen once a year. Online shopping is supposed to break records, today, and that just means more and more workers taking time away from their jobs for Cyber Monday. Watch today's Daily Brown Bag to learn about what analysts are saying about Cyber Monday this year, and how much productivity is actually being lost for the sake of today's deals.


Hello, and welcome to the Daily Brown Bag. Today, we’re going to be talking about Cyber Monday and it’s impact on productivity. I’m Chad Hill, and I’m joined by Adam Stetzer.

Good morning, Chad. Welcome to the Brown Bag, everybody. I hope everybody had a great Thanksgiving. We’re talking about Cyber Monday, which is happening as we speak today, and this is the biggest day for online holiday shopping. Of course, Black Friday has now, I guess, crept into Black Thursday, Chad, but, Cyber Monday is the online equivalent. The name came from the idea that everyone comes back to work still charged up about shopping for the holiday season, and this is the big day when people put lots of money into online sites and do their online shopping.

So, here are a few stats. U.S. consumers are set to make a new record, we believe, today. Last year, they spent $1.46 billion just on this one day. Today it’s estimated that it will top $2 billion, and Retail Me Not says that nine out of ten consumers plan to spend time shopping or browsing while they’re at work, so it’s no surprise that $2 billion doesn’t happen in just an hour or after you get home from work at five or six o’clock. People plan to spend time doing this while they’re at work. So, there are some interesting stats, and I think the crux of our discussion this morning, Chad, is that 67% of people plan to shop for at least an hour or more today while they’re at work, and 25% plan to spend four or more hours shopping online, again, on the job. So, this study is estimating that employers could experience more than a $2.5 billion loss in productivity for each hour that’s spent online shopping, which is really interesting. So, the online retail community is going to pick up maybe $2 billion in spending today, but it looks like the bill might actually be footed by employers. So I guess that’s the discussion today. Is there anything employers should or could do, or should they just give this day up, Chad?

It’s definitely some interesting stats, and I think we’ve found some interesting information about employers who are being flexible and some that maybe aren’t as flexible. So, there was a Robert Half Technology survey that said that 16% of CIOs said that they’re giving employees unrestricted access to online sites. Less than 30% block access, which is down 4% from last year. But on the other hand there was a Career Builder survey saying that 7% of employers surveyed said that they had fired someone for doing online shopping at work-- we don’t know if that’s on Cyber Monday or in general. But in general, I think people look at this and say there’s maybe a little flexibility coming in after the big shopping weekend to finish off some of those list things will add to longer run productivity because people aren’t cutting out from work early, et cetera. So, there’s definitely some mixed feelings on this. It’s an interesting thing.

I think also, Chad, with the economy slowly on the mend, maybe that’s the reason you’re seeing a slight softening on some of these restrictions over previous years where the economy’s been tighter and jobs have been tighter. Maybe that’s the reason the CIOs are saying, “Well, maybe this is a perk I’m going to offer this year,” or “Sure, I’m going to open up some of those sites that were previously restricted and fire less people.” But it is also interesting as we’ve been covering the impact of mobile and how mobile is starting to play in the statistics for Cyber Monday and increasing how people start their shopping process, it seems like the ability to block these sites is going to be increasingly difficult as there are multiple paths in, and people are using multiple paths to get to them. Maybe the control the CIO had over this in the old day through the proxy corporate firewall is gone anyway.

Yeah, and it’s also kind of important to think about where Cyber Monday even came from, because back when it started in 2005, a lot of people still didn’t have really high-speed internet access in their houses. Some people were still coming in off of dial-up or much slower DSL connections, so a lot of this was people waiting to go to work on Monday to get access to that big corporate pipe so that they could more quickly browse and look and pictures and whatnot. So, that’s definitely changed as time has gone by, and Adam made a great point. Now, not only do people have those big high-speed connections at home, but they actually have high-speed connections on their mobile devices, so you could certainly hide in a closet somewhere and do your Cyber Monday shopping right in your office without using the corporate connection.

Well, that’s our Brown Bag for Cyber Monday. We’re very glad that you pulled yourself away from your shopping, and we’re happy to let you get back to We hope you enjoyed our video. We hope you’ll subscribe to our YouTube channel, and we’d like to see you here tomorrow.