Green Monday Raises Red Flag for Online Shoppers

For an online shopper, nothing is more embarrassing than telling someone on a special day, "Your gift hasn't arrived yet." That's what "Green Monday" is all about and why it's the biggest shipping day of the year.

It's right about this time every year -- the second Monday in December -- that shopping inertia turns into anxiety and online gift givers rush to get their presents into the shipping channel. FedEx, which knows a bit about shipping, expects more than 17 million packages will be shipped today, a 9 percent increase over last year.

In past years, Green Monday -- a term coined by eBay in 2007 after identifying an annual spike in activity at its site on that day -- has been a bigger business day for online merchants than Cyber Monday. In recent years, though, that hasn't been the case.

“We know that Green Monday will rank among the top online spending days of the season, but its hold on the number one position may be slipping somewhat over time," comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni observed in a statement. “One possible reason is that as Free Shipping Day (Friday, December 16 this year) gains in importance each year, online spending during the heaviest week of the season is being more evenly distributed throughout the week, whereas in the past there was a much higher concentration of spending during the early part of the week."

Facebook jumps into the Green Monday shopping cart (click to enlarge).

During this holiday season, online retailers have garnered $24.6 billion in sales, a 15 percent increase over the same period last year. During that stretch, six days have had more than $1 billion in sales and Green Monday is expected to join that class.

Retailers, of course, can't resist an opportunity to hype a sale and Green Monday is no exception to that rule. Sears, Major League Baseball and, of course, eBay are all promoting Green Monday specials. There's even a Facebook page dedicated to Green Monday deals.

If you don't ship your gifts this week, FedEx says you still have another week's grace. Packages shipped by Monday, December 19, should make it to their destination by Christmas. I wonder what color will be assigned to that day? Red Monday, perhaps?

Follow freelance technology writer John P. Mello Jr. and Today@PCWorld on Twitter.

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