NEW YORK (AP) – After a busy holiday weekend in shopping malls, millions of Americans are expected to log on and keep shopping on the day dubbed Cyber Monday.
That day, the Monday after Thanksgiving, has been the biggest online shopping day of the year since 2010. That's expected to continue, even though fewer people overall are expected to shop on Cyber Monday due to earlier promotions online.
The day could take on added importance after a Thanksgiving weekend that saw fewer shoppers and lower spending than last year, according to some estimates. In addition, more retailers are pushing deals in later hours since people are increasingly shopping after work.
Karen Manley, 44, of Bowling Green, Kentucky, started shopping cyberdeals early last week, including puffer vests from Aeropostale that she bought before Thanksgiving that were $46 marked down to $14, plus free shipping. She planned to hit Dillard's and Forever 21 sites after work to look for Uggs shoes and sweaters for her three children age 13, 15 and 18, as well as free shipping offers.
"It's easier and more convenient to shop online," she said.
Retailers have been pushing "cyber" deals all month and will continue to do so this week, dubbed "Cyber Week," hoping to spur customers to spend. And it seems to be working: Research firm comScore said late Sunday that e-commerce spending for the first 28 days of the November and December shopping season totaled $22.7 billion, up 15 percent from last year. Sales jumped 32 percent to $1 billion on Thanksgiving Day and 26 percent on Black Friday to $1.51 billion.
The firm expects people to spend about $2.5 billion on Cyber Monday alone. The NRF predicts 126.9 million people will shop online this year, down 4 percent from last year.
ComScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni said the strong spending online so far stems from the "overall health in consumer spending, responsiveness to the strong deals being offered online, and perhaps some shoppers opting to stay home on Thanksgiving rather than head out to the stores that opened their doors early."
More people shopping on a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet is spurring growth, too. The NRF expects one in five people will use a mobile device to shop on Cyber Monday. IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark said this year marked the first weekend after Thanksgiving where mobile traffic accounted for more than half of all online traffic on Saturday and Sunday.
Overall, online sales were up 17 percent compared to the same weekend in 2013, according to IBM.
On Monday, online retailers promoted deals throughout the day. Gap and Banana Republic offered a blanket 40 percent off all purchases.
Amazon, which offers new deals every 10 minutes, offered up to 45 percent off some Samsung TVs and 60 percent off a Canon wireless printer selling for $39.99. Amazon is rolling out deals throughout the day including its Amazon Fire TV video streaming box marked down to $69 from $99, beginning in the afternoon.
Wal-Mart said it has doubled its Cyber Week deals to 500 compared with last year, including up to half off some TVs, tablets and toys with free-shipping offers. Wal-Mart is also rolling out new deals later in the day in its so-called "Evening Edition" round of deals, including a Straight Talk Moto E Android Phone for $9.99, 90 percent off its regular price.
Toys R Us is offering online deals for 11 days that began the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and also has free-shipping offers. Cyber deals include $15 off Disney "Frozen" Princess dolls that are regularly $50 and $20 off a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Battroborg Electronic Battle Game that is usually $80.
The name "Cyber Monday" was coined in 2005 by the National Retail Federation's online arm, Shop.org, to encourage people to shop online. After retailers revved up deals for the day, it became the busiest online shopping day in 2010. The name was also a nod to online shopping being done at work, where faster connections made it easier to browse, less of a factor now.
Cyber Monday comes after a weekend that saw 5.3 percent fewer shoppers and 11 percent less spending, according to estimates by the National Retail Federation.
"Online is nowhere near its maturity, so Cyber Monday should be big, with a lot of strength in the days leading up to it," Forester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru said. "More consumers are spending more shopping dollars online."
She expects two spikes in online shopping: one during the long Thanksgiving weekend, including Cyber Monday, and one later in December when shipping deadlines to get items by Christmas start to hit.
The National Retail Federation has forecast overall holiday sales will increase 4.1 percent to $616.9 billion in 2014.