Cyber Monday: Online sales likely to hit $1.5 bn in US this year

Americans are expected to spend $1.5 billion, up 20 percent from last year on Cyber Monday, according to research firm comScore, as retailers have expanded their deals to get shoppers to click on their websites.


New York: Stores are counting on the so-called Cyber Monday to be the biggest online shopping day of the year in the US for the third year in a row.

Americans are expected to spend $1.5 billion, up 20 percent from last year on Cyber Monday, according to research firm comScore, as retailers have expanded their deals to get shoppers to click on their websites.

With consumer spending making up 70 percent of the still-struggling US economy, coaxing Americans to shop this Christmas season is key.

A US shopping trade group coined Cyber Monday after noticing that online sales spiked on the Monday following the Thanksgiving holiday.

Retailers are hoping the deals will appeal to shoppers like Matt Sexton, 39, who for the first time plans to complete all of his holiday shopping online this year on his iPad tablet computer. Sexton plans to spend up to $4,000 this season.

An Amazon.com employee grabs boxes off the conveyor belt to load in a truck.AP

How well retailers fare on Cyber Monday will offer insight into Americans' evolving shopping habits during the holiday shopping season, a time when stores can make up to 40 percent of their annual revenue.

With the growth in high-speed Internet access and the wide use of smartphones 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."

"People years ago didn't have ... connectivity to shop online at their homes. So when they went back to work after Thanksgiving they'd shop on the Monday after," said Vicki Cantrell, executive director of Shop.org. "Now they don't need the work computer to be able to do that."

As a result, the period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday has become busy for online shopping as well. Indeed, online sales on Thanksgiving Day, traditionally not a popular day for online shopping, rose 32 percent over last year to $633 million, according to comScore. And online sales on Friday, traditionally a boom day for shopping at offline stores, were up 26 percent from the same day last year, to $1.042 billion. It was the first time online sales the day after Thanksgiving surpassed $1 billion.

For the holiday season to date, comScore found that $13.7 billion has been spent online, marking a 16 percent increase over last year. The research firm predicts that online sales will surpass 10 percent of total retail spending this holiday season. The National Retail Federation estimates that overall retail sales in November and December will be up 4.1 percent this year to $586.1 billion

Even though Cyber Monday is expected to be the biggest shopping day this year, industry watchers say it could just be a matter of time before other days take that ranking.

"Of all the benchmark spending days, Thanksgiving is growing at the fastest rate, up 128 percent over the last five years," said Andrew Lipsman, a spokesman with comScore.

AP


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