Shoppers snap up Cyber Monday deals
NEW YORK — Shoppers seemed to be just as enthusiastic about shopping on their computers and smartphones on Cyber Monday as they were about finding deals over the weekend.
Online sales on Cyber Monday, which was started in 2005 by a retail trade group to encourage Americans to shop online on the Monday after Thanksgiving, were up by 15 percent by midafternoon from a year ago, according to data from IBM Benchmark. Meanwhile, sales from mobile devices were up 7.4 percent. The group did not give dollar amounts.
Nearly 123 million Americans were expected to shop online Monday. In 2010, nearly 107 million shopped online on Cyber Monday.
By early afternoon on Monday, traffic was up about 37 percent year-over-year, according to Akamai, an online content-delivery company. Akamai expected online traffic to peak at about 9 p.m.
"Cyber Monday is far more exciting to me than Black Friday," said Jamie Minoso, a 40-year-old English teacher from Alabama. "I do not enjoy the traffic and chaos involved in shopping at a mall."
The Cyber Monday numbers show Americans' growing comfort with using personal computers, tablets and smartphones to shop. Over the past few years, big chains such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, have offered incentives such as hourly deals and free shipping to capitalize on the 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.
It won't be clear how well retailers ultimately fared until today. But last year, sales on the day topped $1 billion for the first time, making it the heaviest day of online spending ever.
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Types of Cyber Monday deals 50%
Estimate of retailers that dangled online discounts
Retailers that ran limited-time flash sales Monday
Retailers that offered free shipping to entice shoppers
Sources: National Retail Federation and Shop.org
• For some shoppers, today could be Red Tuesday, which the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies warns will hit shoppers who go into debt on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
• Mobile Sunday, which online payment site PayPal has christened the second Sunday in December.
• Free Shipping Day on Dec. 16, brought to you by FreeShipping.org.
Some of the deals available Monday:
< Amazon.com offered its bigger, more expensive Kindle DX for $259, or $120 off the regular price.
• The Express clothing chain was offering 30 percent off and free shipping on all online orders.
• Wal-Mart, which has been calling the holiday "Cyber Week" in ads, was offering an LG 47-inch LED TV for $879, or $320 off the regular price.
• Blue Nile, the online jeweler, offered 20 percent discounts on its top 25 gifts under $100.
• LivingSocial, the daily deal website, was selling a $200 gift certificate for $100.
Feds knock down pirate retail sites
Federal authorities have shut down 150 websites accused of selling knock-off or pirated merchandise to unsuspecting online bargain hunters.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement director John Morton and Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer announced the results of the ICE and FBI three-month investigation on Cyber Monday, the day that for many shoppers kicks off the online holiday shopping season.
The government seized the domain names for the sites — registered in the United States but mostly run from abroad, namely from China — that sold everything from fake replica NBA jerseys to replica Louis Vuitton handbags and imitation Ugg boots.
"This is straight crime," Morton said. "This is people being duped into buying a counterfeit."
The federal government has seized the domain names of 350 websites since first targeting online counterfeiters in June 2010. Each investigation, Morton said, has grown.
No one has been charged with a crime in connection with the most recently seized domains.