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Cyber Monday Looks To Eclipse Black Friday

(c) Sky News 2012

This year's Cyber Monday is set to be the biggest online shopping day of the year for the third year in a row.

According to research firm comScore, Americans are expected to spend $1.5bn (£937.1m), up 20% on last year, with retailers ramping up deals to get shoppers to click on their websites.

How well Cyber Monday goes will offer an insight into Americans' evolving shopping habits during the holiday season.

Early results indicate online shopping was up 25.6% compared to the same time period a year ago, according to figures by IBM Benchmark released on Monday afternoon.

Sales from mobile devices, which include tablets, rose 10.9%.

With the growth in high speed Internet access and the wide use of smartphones and tablet computers, people are relying less on their work computers to shop than they did when the term "Cyber Monday" was initially coined in 2005.

These days the period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday has become busy for online shopping as well.

Online sales on Thanksgiving Day, traditionally not a popular day for online shopping, rose 32% on last year to $633m (£395.5m), according to comScore.

Black Friday internet sales were up 26% from the same day last year, to $1.042bn (£624.8m). It was the first time online sales on Black Friday surpassed $1bn. (NasdaqGS: AMZN - news) ranked as the most visited site on that day.

Online sales look likely to surpass 10% of total retail spending this holiday season.

Even though Cyber Monday is expected to be the biggest shopping day this year, industry watchers say it could just be a matter of time before other days take that ranking.

"Of all the benchmark spending days, Thanksgiving is growing at the fastest rate, up 128% over the last five years," said Andrew Lipsman, a spokesman with comScore.

Many major retail chains such as Wal-Mart and Target (Berlin: DYH.BE - news) opened their doors on Thursday evening, getting a head start on Black Friday.

Around 35 million people put down the turkey and went shopping, a 40% surge over the previous year.

Across the four-day weekend, 247 million US shoppers spent $59.1bn (£36.9bn), a jump of 13% over the previous year, the National Retail Federation announced.

American consumers (Other OTC: ANCS.PK - news) spent an average of $423 (£264) over the period, compared to $398 (£249) last year.

"It's phenomenal," NRF director Mathew Shay told reporters, saying the numbers bode well for the holiday season despite the still-struggling US economy.

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