Cyber Monday shoppers give retailers sales bump

By Mae Anderson, AP

NEW YORK — Cyber Monday is turning into Cyber Month.

Retailers rolled out discounts and free shipping deals on Cyber Monday, with millions of Americans expected to log on and shop on their work computers, laptops and tablets after the busy holiday shopping weekend.

But with retailers extending their online deals into ��Cyber Week�� and even ��Cyber Month,�� early reports indicated shopping was less robust online on Monday compared with prior years. As of 3 p.m. ET, online sales rose just 8.7 percent compared with last year, according to IBM Digital Analytics. The figures don’t take into account the many shoppers who plan to head online after work or in the evening. But a year ago, Cyber Monday sales jumped 20.6 percent, according to IBM.

It is still expected to be the biggest online shopping day again, as it has been each year since 2010. That is good news for retailers after a Thanksgiving weekend that saw fewer shoppers and lower spending than last year, according to some estimates. Mobile traffic, which includes smartphones and tablets, has accounted for nearly 39 percent of all online traffic, compared with 30 percent a year ago. Average order value was US$133.07, flat with 2013.

Forrester analyst Sucharita Mulpuru said retailers could be playing it safe on deal offers since shoppers have been conditioned to head online to look for sales on Monday.

��Cyber Monday offers aren’t super compelling, but don’t need to be,�� she said. ��It’s been the biggest shopping day of the year for the last few years, so they know that people are going to come.��

Courtney Lane Greenley, 25, from Alexandria, Virginia, was feeling regret Monday that she didn’t buy a knife block and cutlery earlier in the week, when she saw better deals online. Amazon was running a limited-time ��lightning offer�� for some Rachael Ray cookware on Friday under US$100, but on Monday the same products cost more than US$100.

��I should have pulled the trigger earlier,�� she said. Greenley didn’t think she would make the purchases on Monday.

Jack Kananian, of Brunswick, Ohio, 31, was more satisfied with his purchase. He waited months to buy a computer because he wanted to wait for Cyber Monday deals. He found one on HP’s mobile site and bought it via his smartphone on Monday, a computer with a touch screen for US$550 marked down from US$800.

��I’ve been taking a look at different prices, but I bought it once I saw the deal, it was the best price I saw by far,�� he said.