More holiday shoppers log on for deals
Steve Raabe / The Denver Post
Online shopping is projected to take a bigger slice of the holiday retail pie this year.
The increase comes from more shoppers using online specialists such as Amazon and Overstock, and conventional brick-and-mortar stores upping their presence on the Web.
Nearly two-thirds of U.S. retailers expect their online sales to grow by 15 percent or more compared with last holiday season, up from less than half of retailers who expressed the same expectations last year, according to a survey by BIGresearch.
Today is known as “Cyber Monday,” a phrase coined five years ago for the phenomenon of consumers logging on to computers — often in the workplace — to shop on the first Monday after Thanksgiving.
The increasingly competitive online marketplace has led retailers to advertise specials that rival “Black Friday” markdowns and to offer free shipping on purchases.
“Some people look at Black Friday shopping as a sport, but there are other people who would rather drop dead than go out and battle the crowds,” said retail analyst Jeff Green of Phoenix-based Jeff Green Partners. “Now virtually every retailer has an online presence. It’s only going to get bigger and bigger.”
Many consumers launched their online buying last week when merchants began posting Internet specials.
Lynne Ryan of Denver was intrigued by Home Depot’s doorbuster flier last week showing a seven-foot artificial Christmas tree marked down from $99 to $49.
“But I would have to be at the store by 5 a.m. (Friday), due to limited quantities available. Clearly, this was not an option,” she said.
Instead, Ryan checked Home Depot’s website and found the same deal.
“I got the tree I wanted with free shipping, and I got to sleep in,” she said. “I still will need to go to actual stores and support local merchants to do some of my shopping, but for the most part, online is the way to go.”
Greenwood Village-based online retailer eBags said its sales on Friday were up about 80 percent compared with the same day last year.
A poll by Consumer Reports found that online shopping today will surpass in-store shopping, with 17 percent of respondents planning to visit store websites while 13 percent said they will hit physical stores.
Lynda Schwemmer of Buena Vista said she has done “about 99 percent” of her shopping online for several years.
“You have to do it early to avoid problems later,” she said, “but it’s so much better than physical shopping.”