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Reports say 'Cyber Monday' top online shopping day

By Mae Anderson

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 29 2011 2:55 p.m. MST

NEW YORK — Online shoppers spent record amounts on the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, making it the biggest online shopping day in history.

Online sales rose 22 percent to $1.25 billion on "Cyber Monday," when retailers ramp up online promotions, according to research firm comScore Inc. That makes it the biggest online shopping day ever, the research firm said. A year ago, "Cyber Monday" sales topped $1 billion for the first time

IBM Benchmark, another company that tracks online sales, reported a 33 percent rise. The average order rose 2.6 percent to $193.24 this year, according to IBM Benchmark. It didn't give total dollar sales numbers for comparison. The company said about 80 percent of retailers offered online deals.

The Cyber Monday numbers point to Americans' growing comfort with using their personal computers, tablets and smartphones to shop.

Over the past few years, big chains like Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, have offered more and better incentives, like hourly deals and free shipping, to capitalize on that trend. It's important for retailers to make a good showing during the holiday shopping season, a time when they can make up to 40 percent of their annual revenue.

"Retailers that adopted a smarter approach to commerce, one that allowed them to swiftly adjust to the shifting shopping habits of their customers, whether in-store, online or via their mobile device, were able to fully benefit from this day and the entire holiday weekend, said John Squire, chief strategy officer, IBM Smarter Commerce.

About 6.6 percent of online shoppers used a mobile device to shop, up from 2.3 percent last year. Apple Inc.'s iPhone and iPad were the top mobile devices for retail traffic, with Android devices coming in third.

Web traffic rose 28 percent on Monday, according to another firm, online content-delivery firm Akamai. The peak was at 9 p.m. Eastern when shoppers across the country were online.

The numbers echo a strong shopper showing in brick-and-mortar stores over the holiday weekend. A record 226 million shoppers visited stores and websites during the four-day holiday weekend starting on Thanksgiving Day, up from 212 million last year, according to the National Retail Federation trade group. And sales on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, rose 7 percent to $11.4 billion, the largest amount ever spent, according to ShopperTrak, which gathers stores' data.

A clearer picture of how holiday sales are shaping up will come on Thursday, when major retailers report November sales.

The term "Cyber Monday" was coined in 2005 by The National Retail Federation to encourage Americans to shop online on the Monday after Thanksgiving. It is not always the busiest online shopping day, but in recent years sales on the day have increased as retailers offer more deals specifically for Cyber Monday.

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