Cyber Monday Sales Up Sharply

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Early indications are that Cyber Monday sales will be as strong as retailers have been hoping, as consumers continue to blur the lines between on- and offline shopping. 

By 3 p.m., IBM Benchmark reported that online sales are up 25.6% over last year.

Even more remarkable than those gains, experts say, is the fluidity with which consumers are now able to shift focus from online to brick-and-mortar shopping: comScore reports that for the first time, online sales on Black Friday -- the day usually associated with madness and mayhem in physical stores -- broke the $1 billion mark. And many retailers are hawking “cyber” specials in their brick-and-mortar stores. 

Think of it as CyberFridayBlackMonday week, Fiona Dias, chief strategy officer of ShopRunner, tells Marketing Daily. “Cyber Monday has really ceased to be a day in the calendar, it’s more like a week or two,” she says. “Because stores are so linked to their Web sites, they have to bring those Cyber Monday events into their physical stores as well.”

What’s more, she says, that Cyber Monday consciousness has become so big and all-encompassing “that every other industry is gate-crashing. I’m seeing emails for Cyber Monday specials on travel sites, from hotels, even a concert hall in Philadelphia offering to waive services in 'Today only’ deals.”

Shop.org, the online arm of the National Retail Federation, says it expects 129.2 million Americans to have spent time shopping online -- up from the 122.8 million last year. That includes 20.4 million who are shopping vie smartphone or tablet, an increase of 14.4%. (The IBM sample shows a much higher percentage of shop-by-phoners, with 21% of that group using their mobile device.)

Still, the vast majority (88%, says Shop.org) cybershop the old-fashioned way, using a computer while at home. But 12.4%, or roughly 16 million, also said they planned to shop from their computer at work. 

And retailers have been holding out rewards for those who do so: The trade group says 85% of the retailers it surveyed are offering a promotion just for Cyber Monday.

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