USA TODAY - After a four-day holiday weekend shopping frenzy, consumers have their sights set on the next discount shopping target — Cyber Monday.
Some 122 million Americans are expected to take to their computers, smartphones or other devices to scoop up bargains, up by 1 million from a year ago, the National Retail Federation forecasts.
“Millions of consumers shopped over Thanksgiving weekend and reserved a portion of their budgets exclusively for Cyber Monday," says the federation's CEO Matthew Shay in a statement. He says they know "there will be digital deals that are too good to pass up.”
Cyber Monday, in which retailers offer promotions exclusively online, is being fed by consumers' insatiable appetite for cool electronics and by traditional retailers like Walmart and Target intent on seeing more of their more sales coming from the Internet. They are hoping to take back more market share from Amazon and other online sellers.
“Cyber Monday — it’s going to be really good,” said Jenah Marsh of Covina, Calif., as she shopped Friday with friend Tammy Frame of Thousand Oaks, Calif., at The Oaks Shopping Center. The Black Friday deals left her cold, but she was brimming with optimism about Monday.
For retailers, Cyber Monday represents a last-gasp chance to build on strong weekend sales.
More than 154 million consumers whipped out their wallets over Thanksgiving weekend, up from 151 million shoppers last year, finds a survey by the federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. Also boding well for Cyber Monday: More Americans made purchases online than in stores.
Walmart was among the retailers benefiting from the boom in online sales via smartphones and other mobile devices. For its Black Friday event, 70% of the retailer’s online traffic was through mobile. And 60% of orders on Walmart.com were made with mobile devices. “Customers are getting more and more comfortable clicking the buy button on their smartphones,’’ Walmart spokesman Ravi Jariwala said in a statement.
Target.com had already seen its biggest day ever early Friday with mobile sales accounting for more than 60% of online sales, according to the retailer, which also reported millions of shoppers in its stores, many anxious to buy electronics.
Mobile sales were up for online retailer Amazon, too. Thanksgiving Day sales alone surpassed sales from the same holiday last year and 2015's Cyber Monday. Black Friday sales on Amazon.com were on pace to surpass last year in terms of number of items ordered, Amazon said. Customers had ordered more than 100,000 toys in just the first few hours of Black Friday, the retailer said.
As a result, some were juicing their Cyber Monday sales with some good deals. Black Friday wasn't even over before Walmart was promoting its Cyber Week deals on its website.
It's easy to see why, based on how consumers scooped up electronics bargains at stores on Friday.
Mike Farris arrived at the Best Buy at Gulf Coast Town Center in the Fort Myers area at 5:30 a.m. on Black Friday. He waited more than two hours in line for a shot at a 55-inch Sharp TV, a $499 television on sale marked down to $249.
“Early bird gets the worm,” he said. “For that price, you can’t go wrong.”
Jordas Reyes, the tired but happy general manager of the store, was pleased with his in-store sales.
“Nobody got trampled or anything like that,” he said as he greeted customers.
Justesen reports for the Ventura (Calif.) Star, Logan for the Fort Myers (Fla.) News-Press and Snider for USA TODAY. Contributing: Joe Taschler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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