Cyber Monday to draw crowds to computers

Nov. 24, 2012 @ 06:42 PM

Seven years ago, as the Internet was coming into its own as a place to do business, retailers decided to put a Christmas season twist on the trend.
They began promoting the Monday after Thanksgiving as Cyber Monday, a day when retailers would offer customers sales prices and discounts on shipping – even free shipping – to encourage online gift orders.
Today, as use of the Internet for commerce has become commonplace, Cyber Monday has blossomed into one of the biggest shopping days of the year, aiming to rival Black Friday on the day after Thanksgiving. This year’s cyberspace retail rush will take place this Monday.
The U.S. Postal Service estimates that a record level of Cyber Monday purchases is expected by 130 million Americans ordering online during the day. Online shopping exponentially increased from $72 billion in 2002 to more than $250 billion last year, according to the Postal Service.
A record 85 percent of retailers will offer special promotions on Cyber Monday, up from 78.4 percent last year, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation.
“Now more than ever, retailers are integrating their digital and in-store promotions, working to create that seamless shopping experience that they know consumers demand and expect,” said Vicki Cantrell, executive director of the federation’s Digital Division. 
Four out of 10 retailers surveyed by the trade group intend to offer free shipping without conditions on Cyber Monday. The number of retailers offering the free shipping perk is “up significantly from the 12.5 percent who said so last year,” reports the federation.
Clothing and consumer electronics will serve as the top gift purchase items for Cyber Monday, according to a survey from the website PriceGrabber.com. Other popular gift items on Cyber Monday include computers, laptops and tablets, books, DVDs and video games, toys and shoes, reports PriceGrabber.com.