Cyber Monday deals: Worth waiting for?

Cyber Monday deals on easy-to-ship items can be as compelling as Black Friday's deals.

Paul Sakuma/AP
An package awaits delivery from UPS in Palo Alto, Calif. Cyber Monday has picked up over the past three years. Will it be worth waiting for this year?

Cyber Monday deals used to be the leftovers – items that didn't sell on Black Friday were put up for sale again on the following Monday. But in the last three years, the event has come into its own.

Some Cyber Monday deals can be just as good as Black Friday's offerings. The trick: Use the day to shop for items that are easy to ship and usually sell online.

"You're going to see a lot of things on Cyber Mondays, like accessories for your smartphone, movies, and games, and books," says Brent Shelton, marketing spokesman for Fat Wallet, an online shopping resource based in Rockton, Ill. Will the deals be as good? "I think they're going to be comparable," he says.

Retailers are aiming at a different demographic on Cyber Monday. Black Friday shoppers are those who come to stores. And they tend to be older, less affluent, and often pay cash, says Fiona Dias, executive vice president of strategy and marketing for GSI Commerce, an Internet commerce consulting firm based in Philadelphia.

By contrast, Cyber Monday shoppers are younger, more affluent, comfortable with Internet shopping, and have a credit card to pay online, she adds. "It also skews to people who have less time."

Often, Cyber Monday shoppers are making their purchases from the office, because they want to avoid the crowds at the mall, Mr. Shelton says.

So should you buy now or wait for a great deal on Cyber Monday? It depends.

If you have a great Black Friday deal on something you really want, buy it, Shelton says. If it's a hot item or bulky and hard to ship, it's not as likely to be part of a Cyber Monday sale.

If it's a staple of online commerce and you can afford to wait, however, Cyber Monday may be just the ticket. Many retailers are offering free shipping and some are offering free shipping on returns.

With all the competition, the deals should keep getting better, Shelton says.

Most of the growth in holiday sales this year will occur online, retail experts forecast. So Cyber Monday should be the beginning of a surge in online buying.

"This is the third [Cyber Monday] of any significance," says Ms. Dias. "Before that, it was a lot of hype and no sales."

RELATED: Target Black Friday ad: $298 HDTV, $3 appliances

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