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Online shopping now so much more than just Cyber Monday

Isn't every day pretty much Cyber Monday nowadays?

A lot of the big retail names, from brick-and-mortar chains like Walmart and Best Buy to online companies like Amazon, offered Black Friday-like specials all weekend long online, starting on Thanksgiving and spanning into what has been traditionally known as "Cyber Monday," or the Monday following Turkey Day.

With so many options of where to browse and shop on the Internet these days, is Cyber Monday really relevant anymore? This year is the 10th anniversary of Cyber Monday, which was coined by the National Retail Federation to create yet another promotional shopping holiday.

Ten years ago, online shopping wasn't quite the animal it is now. Amazon can deliver goods to your house in an hour. You pick up groceries curbside at Walmart when you order online at some stores.

"People shop online all year round. Online shopping has become so much more than it was," said Faith Hope Consolo, chairwoman of the Retail Group for Douglas Elliman Real Estate in New York City. "The lines are so blurred now. Some of the stores are trying to push Cyber Monday into the Sunday before."

Black Friday surpassed Cyber Monday as the most popular online shopping day during the Thanksgiving weekend, according to a holiday shopping survey by Deloitte. Two-thirds of consumers who planned to shop over the holiday weekend said they would do so on Black Friday, compared with 52 percent who said they would shop on Cyber Monday.

But the National Retail Federation says that nearly 80 percent of consumers, or a potential 183.8 million shoppers nationwide, will shop on Cyber Monday this year.

"Given how shoppers today overall gravitate toward all things digital, there's a high likelihood online shopping will be bigger than ever over the holiday weekend and on Cyber Monday," said Pam Goodfellow, a consumer analyst with the NRF survey.

It's no surprise that online and mobile sales are seeing the biggest projections for growth in the retail industry. Walmart expects 75 percent of its Web traffic to come from mobile devices this year.

"The digital influence is likely to touch nearly every moment in the shopper's journey this holiday season," said Rod Sides, vice chairman of Deloitte. "With nearly 90 percent of respondents planning to go online at some point during the holiday weekend, digital retailing is about more than an online transaction. Mobile and online tools that are fit for the shopper's purpose can influence where that customer shops and what they buy before they head to the store."

Amazon offered new holiday deals on items online every five minutes of every day this month, up until the day after Thanksgiving. Last year, Amazon rolled out new deals every 10 minutes.

Toys "R" Us offered the "vast majority" of its Black Friday deals to online shoppers as well this year, said Richard Barry, executive vice president and global chief merchandising officer with the retailer. In addition, the toy store chain is participating in "Cyber Week," where it rolls out new deals online every day during the week beginning on Cyber Monday, he said.

But there has got to be a shopping hangover at some point.

"Now you research online before you buy in store or check on your phone to get the price match or just buy online. This is how it's done," said Consolo, the chairwoman of the Retail Group for Douglas Elliman Real Estate. "It's exhausting."

Contact Justine Griffin at jgriffin@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8467. Follow @SunBizGriffin.

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