Black Friday is a distant memory. Small Business Saturday is long gone. Now, it's Cyber Monday's turn.
Cyber Monday, coined in 2005 by a shopping trade group that noticed a spike in online sales on the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday when people returned to their work computers, is the next in a line of days that stores are counting on to jump-start the holiday shopping season.
This year's Cyber Monday is expected to be the biggest online shopping day of the year for the third year in a row. According to research firm comScore, Americans are expected to spend $US1.5 billion ($A1.45 billion), up from $US1.25 billion last year on Cyber Monday, as retailers ramp up deals to get shoppers to click on their websites.
Retailers are hoping their deals will appeal to shoppers such as Matt Sexton, 39, who for the first time plans to complete all his holiday shopping online this year on his iPad tablet computer.
Sexton, who plans to spend up to $US4000 this season, already shopped online on the day after Thanksgiving known as Black Friday and found a laptop from Best Buy for $US399, a $US200 savings, among other deals.
"The descriptions and reviews are so much better online so you can compare and price shop and for the most part get free shipping," said Sexton, who lives in Queens, New York, and is a manager at a utility company.
Sexton also said it's easier to return an online purchase to a physical store than it had been in previous years. "That helps with gifts," he said.
How well retailers do on Cyber Monday will offer insight into Americans' evolving shopping habits. With the growth in high speed internet access and the wide and increasing use of smartphones and tablet computers, 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, coined the term, Cyber Monday.
As a result, the period between the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday and Cyber Monday has become busy for online shopping as well. Indeed, IBM Benchmark, which tracks online sales, said on Thanksgiving, a day that historically had not been big for online shopping, online sales this year rose 17.4 per cent over 2011. Of that, mobile shopping, or shopping on smartphones and tablets, rose 18.3 per cent. Meanwhile, online sales on Black Friday were up 20.7 per cent.
For the overall holiday season, comScore predicts online sales will be up 17 per cent to $US43.4 billion. And the research firm expects online sales to surpass 10 per cent 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 per cent this year to $US586.1 billion.
"People years ago didn't have the kind of 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."