NEW YORK - Cyber Monday is turning into Cyber Month.
Retailers rolled out discounts and free shipping deals on Cyber Monday, with millions of Americans expected to log on and shop on their work computers, laptops, and tablets after the busy holiday shopping weekend.
But with retailers extending their online deals into "Cyber Week" and even "Cyber Month," early reports indicated shopping was less robust online Monday compared with prior years. As of Monday afternoon, online sales rose just 8.7 percent compared with last year, according to IBM Digital Analytics. The figures don't take into account shoppers who planned to head online after work or in the evening. But a year ago, Cyber Monday sales jumped 20.6 percent, according to IBM.
It was still expected to be the biggest online shopping day, as it has been each year since 2010. That is good news for retailers after a Thanksgiving weekend that saw fewer shoppers and lower spending than last year, according to some estimates. Mobile traffic, which includes smartphones and tablets, has accounted for nearly 39 percent of all online traffic, compared with 30 percent a year ago. Average order value was $133.07, flat with 2013.
Forrester analyst Sucharita Mulpuru said retailers could be playing it safe on deal offers since shoppers have been conditioned to head online to look for sales Monday.
"Cyber Monday offers aren't super-compelling, but don't need to be," she said. "It's been the biggest shopping day of the year for the last few years, so they know that people are going to come."
Jack Kananian of Brunswick, Ohio, waited months to buy a computer because he wanted to wait for Cyber Monday deals. He found one on HP's mobile site and bought it via his smartphone on Monday, a computer with a touch screen for $550 marked down from $800.
"I've been taking a look at different prices, but I bought it once I saw the deal, it was the best price I saw by far," he said.
On Monday, Gap and Banana Republic offered 40 percent off all purchases. Amazon offered up to 45 percent off some Samsung TVs and a deal later in the day for its Amazon Fire TV video streaming box marked down to $69 from $99.
Wal-Mart said it has doubled its Cyber Week deals to 500 compared with last year, including up to half off some TVs, tablets, and toys with free-shipping offers.
The name "Cyber Monday" was coined in 2005 by the National Retail Federation's online arm, Shop.org, to encourage people to shop online. After retailers revved up deals, it became the busiest online shopping day in 2010. The name was also a nod to online shopping being done at work, where faster connections made it easier to browse - less of a factor now.
This Cyber Monday comes after a weekend that saw 5.3 percent fewer shoppers and 11 percent less spending, according to estimates by the National Retail Federation.
Research firm comScore said late Sunday that e-commerce spending for the first 28 days of the November and December shopping season totaled $22.7 billion, up 15 percent from last year. Sales jumped 32 percent to $1 billion on Thanksgiving and 26 percent on Black Friday to $1.51 billion. The firm expects people to spend about $2.5 billion on Cyber Monday alone.
The federation predicts 126.9 million people will shop online this year, down 4 percent from last year. It has forecast overall holiday sales will increase 4.1 percent to $616.9 billion in 2014.