The Monday after Thanksgiving in the past few years has evolved into one of the biggest online shopping days of the year. The number of Cyber Monday shoppers has almost doubled in the past five years, from 59 million in 2005 to an estimated 106.9 million in 2010, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).
Last year, shoppers spent $887 million on Cyber Monday, according to research firm comScore Inc. (Nasdaq: SCOR), and analysts expect a higher turnout this year.
Retail spending hit $10.69 billion on Black Friday, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, a 0.3% increase from the $10.66 billion in sales recorded on the day after Thanksgiving last year, reports ShopperTrak, a Chicago-based retail firm that tallies sales in more than 70,000 retail locations around the country.
However, ShopperTrak said the sales total was still a Black Friday record. The researcher is standing behind its prediction that holiday-season spending will rise 3.2%.
Virtually every retailer with an online presence dressed up its website with special offerings, and many of the bigger ones - RadioShack Corp. (NYSE: RSH), Best Buy Co. (NYSE: BBY) and Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) - sent out targeted e-mails offering their best customers discounts of up to 40% on Internet purchases. The tactics worked, as an estimated 96.5 million Americans went online Monday to buy everything from toys, books and music CDs to high-end fashions, jewelry and flat-screen TVs.