AP Retail Writer
POSTED: 8:30 a.m. HST, Dec 2, 2013
LAST UPDATED: 8:32 a.m. HST, Dec 2, 2013
NEW YORK » It's the day of the online deal.
Millions of shoppers are expected to shop with the click of their fingers today as retailers offer online deals on the first working day after the four-day Thanksgiving weekend.
Cyber Monday is expected to be the busiest online shopping day of the year. The National Retail Federation, a trade group, predicts more than 131 million people will shop online today, up about 2 percent from last year.
And research firm comScore expects Cyber Monday expects sales of $2 billion, up from about $1.47 billion last year. Online sales account for about 10 percent of total holiday spending, which is expected to grow about 3.9 percent to $602.1 billion for the months of November and December.
"We're expecting to see strong gains as retailers roll out new promotions and make new products available on their websites," said Jay Henderson, strategy director for IBM. "Online commerce seems to really be driving this holiday season."
Cyber Monday comes after retailers' failed efforts to boost spending during the extended holiday weekend. They offered big discounts in early November, and several opened stores on Thanksgiving Day itself. But The National Retail Federation predicts that spending fell for the first time ever, down 2.9 percent to $57.4 billion, during the four days that ended on Sunday.
Retailers plan to lure online shoppers today with deals. About 81 percent of retailers say they will have Cyber Monday specific deals, according to the NRF's online arm, called Shop.org.
But this year so-called Cyber Monday seems to have stretched into Cyber Week or even Cyber Month, with retailers from Amazon to Wal-Mart rolling out online deals since the beginning of November
Abercrombie & Fitch this morning was offering 50 percent off everything online plus free shipping. Target had deals including $70 off a 32-inch TV with a Roku streaming stick, on sale for $229.99 and a Dyson vacuum for $399.99, $200 off.
Amazon started its cyber deals on midnight on Sunday, including half-off some toys and half off a 46-nich Samsung LED HDTV at $477.99. And Wal-Mart began offering online-only deals on Saturday, including $500 off a 55-inch LED TV bundle and free shipping on orders over $35.
Stephanie Appiah, 25, a student in Williamsburg, Va., started looking for online deals on Thanksgiving but held off buying most items to see what the deals would be like today. At 4 a.m. today she bought a Chromecast streaming video and music device from Google because the free-shipping offer on the $35 device wasn't going to last.
Arthur Baynes, 30, was checking out email deals this morning on his smartphone. Baynes, a travel insurance claims adjuster from Richmond, Va., was looking for a new TV and Blu-Ray games for his younger relatives.
"When I'm looking for something, I'll look it up on my phone and then use the Amazon app on my iPad to buy," he said. "It's just easier. I don't have to sit down where my computer is."