After a weekend of strong online sales, retail websites are rolling out the gimmicks on "Cyber Monday" to draw buyers.
The sales promotions on the Monday after Thanksgiving got their name from a retail trade group, which promoted the idea that people, upon returning to work, would log onto their computers there and shop.
Now it's about the deals online in the way that Black Friday means a shopping frenzy in stores. In fact, as stores promote Black Friday discounts online, it's getting harder to tell the difference between the two as sellers try to grab dollars any way and at any time they can.
IBM's Coremetrics predicts the discounts, free shipping offers and other come-ons will make Cyber Monday the busiest online shopping day of the season.
The promotion follows a weekend that saw strong sales online. From Thanksgiving through Saturday, online spending rose 14 percent, according to Coremetrics data. It also said shoppers were buying 15 percent more items per order.
Online research firm comScore reported late Sunday that e-commerce spending for the first 26 days of November rose 13 percent, reaching $11.64 billion, compared with the same period a year ago. Black Friday saw $648 million in online sales, marking a 9 percent increase compared with the same day last year. Thanksgiving Day, helped by merchants' concentrated efforts to push exclusive deals, enjoyed $407 million in spending, up 28 percent from Thanksgiving 2009.
Gian Fulgoni, comScore chairman, said in a statement that he is seeing consumers beginning to buy "online in a more meaningful way on Thanksgiving Day, which has historically seen low buying activity."
Some retailers had already started touting "Cyber Monday," including Amazon.com, which was offering the "Medal of Honor" Xbox 360 game for $34.99, down from $59.99, and a $499 KitchenAid Professional stand mixer for $299.99.
Walmart.com is promoting "Cyber Week" discounts from Sunday through next Friday, including a 24-inch 1080p HDTV for $199.
Online spending is still a relatively small piece of the holiday pie, between 8 and 10 percent by various estimates. But devotees are confirmed in their enthusiasm for its convenience.
"All of my shopping is going to be over the Internet," he said. "Because of my job I don't have enough time to go out, especially at Christmastime, because I want to catch the (overtime) hours."