Cyber Monday sales hit Chicago-area small business

November 27, 2012

Scott Kanowsky

Holiday shoppers turned so-called "Cyber Monday" into one of the biggest spending days ever, according to a new report released Tuesday.

Research from the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark show online purchases grew 30.3 percent compared to the same time in 2011.

“Cyber Monday was not only the pinnacle of the Thanksgiving shopping weekend but when the cash register closed it officially became the biggest online shopping day ever,” said Jay Henderson, Strategy Director with IBM Smarter Commerce, in a statement Tuesday. “Retailers that adopted a smarter marketing approach to commerce were able to adjust to the shifting shopping habits of their customers, whether in-store, online or via their mobile device of choice, and fully benefit from this day and the entire holiday weekend.”

But Cyber Monday was not a success for every business.

According to Northern Illinois and Chicago Better Business Bureau President Steve Bernas, brick and mortar small businesses in the Chicago-area worried before the holiday season that sales would drop as consumers decided to take advantage of Internet deals on Monday. 

"On the cyber world, you're competing on a global marketplace," Bernas said. "As opposed to a brick and mortar, it's usually a neighborhood store or an area in a specific neighborhood [...] It's hard to compete with a worldwide marketplace."

Internet purchases typically tend to rise on weekdays, said Andrew Lipsman, Vice President of Industry Analysis with the research firm comScore. He added that that trend is “magnified” during the holiday shopping season.

And for Madison Street Shoes in Forest Park, business fell Monday despite a busy weekend.

"Today is extremely quiet. Now Monday is typically our slowest day here, but not this slow. I mean this is highly unusual for us," said Julie Lane, who works at the store.

Lane credited the slowdown to, in part, online sales. But she said the store tries to match or beat online prices in order to compete with Internet retailers, along with "the personal touch, the customer service."