Shoppers wired for Cyber Monday

After devouring Black Friday deals, consumers will troll the Internet for still more bargains.

November 28, 2005: 9:22 AM EST

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - It's take two in the holiday bargain frenzy, as holiday shoppers fresh from Black Friday surf the Internet from home and especially work for even more holiday deals on Cyber Monday, one of the busiest online shopping days of the year.

A 2005 eHoliday survey from Shop.org/BizRate Research last week showed that 43 percent of online retailers -- and even a few brick-and mortar retailers with an online presence -- plan to offer special promotions and discounts, ranging from free shipping to gifts with purchase intended to boost traffic to their Web sites.

Electronics chain CompUSA's one-day Cyber Monday sale includes a 17-inch LCD monitor for under $180 and 10-inch portable DVD players for less than $230. Chocolatier Godiva is hoping to tempt shoppers with a free gift when they make an online purchase.

More than one-third of the 1,891 consumers who were also polled for the Shop.org report said they will use Internet access at work where they have faster Internet connections to buy their gifts this holiday season.

"Once the parades have ended and the leftovers are put away, many consumers will find a few precious hours to get a jump-start on the holidays by shopping online," said Chuck Davis, chairman of online comparison shopping Web site Shopzilla said in the report. "This year, retailers will be reminding shoppers that even though their stores may be closed, their Web sites are always open."

Among the most-shopped categories last year on Cyber Monday were jewelry, consumer electronics, gourmet food, furniture and home dcor, the report said.

Market research firm ComScore Networks expects total holiday online spending, excluding travel, for the two key months of November and December to jump 24 percent over last year to $19 billion. On Black Friday alone, ComScore said consumers spent $305 million online, which was up 22 percent versus last year.

Cyber Monday online sales in 2004 came in at $380 million, the firm said. That represented a 29 percent hike over 2003.
Strong start on Black Friday. But will the pace hold?

Retailers saw a stellar kickoff to the holiday season as Thanksgiving weekend sales jumped 22 percent to nearly $28 billion, the National Retail Federation said Sunday.

The strong numbers should come as a welcome relief to stores worried about a sluggish start to the holiday shopping season on Black Friday.

The average shopper spent an estimated $302.81 over the weekend, the NRF report said.

"As expected, retailers offered substantial discounts and savings on Black Friday to bring people into their stores and consumers held up their end of the bargain by shopping," NRF president and CEO Tracy Mullin said in a statement.

The group said that more than 60 million shoppers headed to the stores on Black Friday, up 7.9 percent from last year.

Another 52.8 million shopped Saturday, up 13.3 percent, and another 22 million were expected to be out Sunday, about in line with the turnout last year, the NRF said.

The NRF results followed earlier mixed reports about Black Friday, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, so called since it's when many retailers start moving into the black for the year.

ShopperTrak, a retail research group, said Saturday that the holiday season's first major shopping day got off to a relatively flat start Friday compared to a strong 2004, despite special promotions, discounts and expanded hours.

Data from ShopperTrak showed Black Friday sales were down 0.9 percent from a year ago to $8 billion. ShopperTrak said sales in the South were particularly good with the Midwest coming in second. Major retailers will release November results later this week.

"With heavy discounting by non-mall retailers combined with the extended shopping season in 2005, consumers may not feel the pressure to shop early this holiday season," ShopperTrak said in a statement.

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