NEW YORK — Americans clicked away on their computers and smart phones for deals on Cyber Monday, which is expected to be the biggest online shopping day in history.
Shoppers were expected to spend $1.5 billion on Cyber Monday, up 20 percent from last year, according to research firm comScore. That would make it not onlythe biggest online shopping day of the year, but the biggest since comScore started tracking shoppers’ online buying habits in 2001.
Online shopping was up 25.6 percent on Cyber Monday compared with the same time period a year ago, according to figures released Monday afternoon by IBM Benchmark, which tracks online sales. Sales from mobile devices, which include tablets, rose 10.9 percent.
The group does not track dollar-amount sales.
The strong start to Cyber Monday, a term coined in 2005 by a shopping trade group that noticed people were doing a lot of shopping on their work computers on the Monday after Thanksgiving, comes after overall online sales rose significantly during the four-day holiday shopping weekend that began on Thanksgiving.
“Online’s piece of the holiday pie is growing every day, and all the key dates are growing with it,” said Sucharita Mulpuru, a Forrester Research analyst. “The Web is becoming a more significant part of the traditional brick-and-mortar holiday shopping season.”
It’s the latest sign that Americans are becoming addicted to the convenience of the Web. With the growth in smart phones and tablet computers, shoppers can buy what they want, whenever they want, wherever they want. As a result, retailers have ramped up the deals they’re offering on their Web sites during the holiday shopping season, a time when stores can make up to 40 percent of their annual revenue.
Amazon.com, which started its Cyber Monday deals at 12:01 a.m. Monday, was offering as much as 60 percent off a Panasonic Viera 55-inch TV tha’'s usually priced higher than $1,000. Sears was offering $430 off a Maytag washer and dryer, each on sale for $399. And Kmart was offering 75 percent off all of its diamond earrings and $60 off a 12-in-1 multigame table on sale for $89.99.
Delisa O'Brien, 24, took advantage of some of the deals on Monday. Ms. O’Brien, who said she would rather shop online than deal with the crowds in stores, bought an H-P Notebook for $399 on Hewlett-Packard’s Web site for her mother. The company threw in a free Nook e-book reader with her purchase.
“When it comes to Black Friday, I’m a tiny, 5-foot-1 woman, and the thought of having to push and shove my way through hordes of people just to get cheap merchandise is kind of a nightmare to me,” said Ms. O’Brien, a Brooklyn, N.Y., resident. “My mom gets a new laptop, I get an e-reader, and all without spending too much money. ... Everybody wins.”
Chas Rowland, 34, a pastor in Vicksburg, Miss., agreed. He said that he prefers shopping online on his iPad.
On Cyber Monday, he bought clothes at several online retailers, toys at Toys R Us, and electronics and phone accessories from Best Buy. He got at least 40 percent off everything and free shipping on some items.
“The best part was that I got to sleep while everyone else was standing in lines all night long on Black Friday,” he said.
How well retailers fare on Cyber Monday will offer insight into Americans’ evolving shopping habits during the holiday shopping season.
With the growth in high speed Internet access and the wide use of smart phones and tablets, people are relying less on their work computers to shop than they did when Shop.org, the digital division of trade group the National Retail Federation, introduced the term “Cyber Monday.”
For the holiday season to date, comScore found that $13.7 billion has been spent online, a 16 percent increase over last year.
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