‘Cyber Monday’ turns out robust sales for online retailers - East Valley Tribune: Business

‘Cyber Monday’ turns out robust sales for online retailers

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Posted: Tuesday, November 29, 2005 5:38 am | Updated: 8:13 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Karen Tara of Tempe already bought a purse for her sister on eBay, and she has her eye on a few special vintages at Wine.com for friends and other family members.

"I plan to do almost all my holiday shopping online," Tara said. "It’s the discounts and the convenience. I can always find really good prices online."

After a long Thanksgiving holiday weekend, people from around the East Valley and around the country swarmed back to work Monday.

They were finally finished devouring turkey leftovers and ready to get back to business — shopping.

"We expect it to be a record-breaking day — the most traffic we’ve ever had," Michelle Friedman, spokeswoman for Valley-based PetSmart, said Monday of the online onslaught.

"Cyber Monday" was solabeled by the National Retail Federation’s online subsidiary Shop.org because in past years the trade organization noticed a spike in online shopping on the day people returned to work after the long Thanksgiving weekend.

"We expect 59 million people to shop today," Shop.org spokeswoman Coeli Jones said Monday. "People are doing it from work, looking up things they saw in stores ovesr the weekend and trying to find better deals."

Employers might be alarmed to know that, according to a Shop.org survey, 51.7 million people plan to use Internet access at work to browse or buy gifts online during the annual holiday spending splurge.

The survey found that men — 42 percent of them — are more likely than women — 32 percent — to shop at the office.

To snag the at-work shoppers early in the season, 43 percent of online retailers offered special promotions and discounts Monday, ranging from free shipping, to gifts with purchase, to deep discounts on merchandise.

CompUSA sold photo printers at $100 off, Barnes & Noble discounted DVDs 35 percent, and Macys.com included a $50,000 sweepstakes entry for online shoppers Monday.

PetSmart offered free shipping on purchases of $60 or more — a deal that extends through mid-December, Friedman said.

The Cyber Monday deals — or maybe the new moniker and associated hype — appear to have worked.

BabyUniverse, an online retailer of baby and maternity products, said that by midday, sales were 40 percent higher than the same day and time last year. By 2 p.m., eToys sales were up 90 percent from the Monday after Thanksgiving 2004, nearly twice what the e-tailer forecasted.

Taking advantage of the new Cyber Monday designation, eToys extended its Thanksgiving weekend specials through Monday, said company spokeswoman Sheliah Gilliland.

And to ensure would-be shoppers noticed, eToys sent e-mails Monday morning to let regular customers know about the 600 items still on sale, some discounted as much as 50 percent, Gilliland said.

"We do 80 percent of our business during the holidays, so every day is a big day, but we expected (Monday) to be up 50 percent from the Monday after Thanksgiving last year," Gilliland said.

Online holiday shopping is expected to increase 24 percent to $19 billion this year, according to comScore Networks.

That could be an underestimate if Black Friday business is any indication. While many swarmed into malls to shop, others let their fingers do the buying. Nielsen/Net Ratings, a market research firm, said 20 percent more people shopped online on the Friday after Thanksgiving than in 2004. That added up to 17.2 million people on one day.

The fastest growing retail category of online shopping on Black Friday was toys/video games, with sales up 152 percent from the previous Friday.

"The toys and video games category experienced the largest increases in traffic fueled by the release of the Xbox 360 and the continued popularity of portable game consoles," said Heather Dougherty, Nielsen/NetRatings senior retail analyst.

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