It’s estimated that Cyber Monday will be the biggest online shopping day of the year for the third year in a row.
A long list of retailers – including Wal-Mart, Amazon and Best Buy – unveiled “pre-Cyber “Monday deals” even before Thanksgiving.
Wal-Mart offered some popular discounts this Black Friday weekend and is continuing to offer deals online including an Apple iPod Touch for $179, a HDTV for $189 and a Xbox console for $159.
Cyber Monday’s original appeal, as the first weekday after Thanksgiving, was access to quick Internet speeds while at work. But now broadband at home is ubiquitous, and consumers can also shop on a slew of mobile devices.
So retailers’ online deals stretched well ahead of Cyber Monday — in some cases, nearly a full week before.
Mobile devices have become increasingly important. The number of consumers using their mobile device to make a purchase on Black Friday this year increased by nearly two-thirds from 2011, IBM data show.
Apple’s iPad made up nearly 10% of online shopping traffic on Black Friday this year, according to IBM, while the iPhone brought in almost 9% and Android devices comprised 5.5%.
And IBM said shoppers are taking advantage of the technology to find better deals. Despite spending more overall, the average online order fell 4.7% to $181.22, and the number of items in each order decreased 12% to 5.6.
Retailers are taking note. Companies like Macy’s and Target developed special Black Friday mobile apps featuring exclusive deals and store maps.
Still, despite the expanded schedule, Cyber Monday itself remains an important part of the holiday shopping season.
Andrew Lipsman, an industry analyst at data tracking firm ComScore, said he expects sales for the one-day Cyber Monday shopping event to be around $1.5 billion this year. That’s up from his calculations of $1.3 billion in 2011.
It will be a few weeks before full details on Thanksgiving week’s sales are made clear, but last year both Black Friday and Cyber Monday broke records. Total spending over the four-day weekend after Thanksgiving 2011 reached a record $52.4 billion, according to the National Retail Federation.
Black Friday 2012 was shaping up to be robust, with shoppers turning out even on Thanksgiving Day at stores including Toys R Us and Sears.