Shopping online: A sprint or a marathon?

November 29, 2010 7:58:48 PM PST
Every table is filled at one of downtown Campbell's favorite coffee haunts, Orchard Valley. At each table, there is at least one laptop powered up. On this Cyber Monday, many of the customers are shopping online.

One woman was looking at shoes. Another was checking out a jewelry website. However, Cyber Monday isn't the huge online shopping day of the past when consumers returned to the office after a long Thanksgiving weekend and shopped at their desks when their bosses weren't looking. That's because the online shopping rush began before and after Thanksgiving dinner.

The web analytical firm ComScore says Thanksgiving Day online business rose 28 percent, year over year, putting $407 million in the tills of retailers. That's not stopping online retailers from putting out Cyber Monday deals. eBay, the San Jose based auction site, had about 400 iPads available early this morning for 20 percent off. It also had deals for a Buzz Lightyear figure and Blu-ray DVD players at 53 percent off.

Retail analyst Ed Weller of ThinkEquity in San Francisco said that online remains the fast-growing segment of retailing, although it accounts for a fraction of total retail sales. Last year, Cyber Monday racked up $887 million in sales. It's projected that growth will be in the 11 precent range today, compared to last year.

Kit Yarrow, consumer psychologist and a professor at Golden Gate University's Ageno School of Business, says retailers have gotten smarter at pressing the right buttons to excite consumers to spend money, even in this post-recession period. She says the buzz word this year is "deals." Expect deals, she says, throughout the next four weeks leading up to Christmas. In fact, eBay is doing exactly that. It is promoting "25 days of deals" on its website from Nov. 26 to Dec. 20.

According to IBM Coremetrics, online sales today are projected to top Black Friday's online sales by 30 percent, or approximately $750 million.


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