November 22, 2010, 4:33 PM

E-retailers and shoppers look forward to Cyber Monday sales

Nearly 90% of e-retailers say they have promotions planned for the Monday after Thanksgiving.

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The Monday after Thanksgiving, increasingly referred to as Cyber Monday, is just one week away, and e-retailers are revving up one-day-only promotions to net the 37% of online shoppers who say they’ll be shopping that day.

Some e-retailers are not waiting for the actual day to offer deals. Gap Inc. today lured holiday shoppers with a “Cyber Monday comes early” promotion that offered 40% off all sales and free shipping for purchases of $50 or greater at Old Navy and Banana Republic. Overstock.com is getting in on the fun by featuring a second-by-second countdown clock to next Monday’s sales. Nearly nine in 10 e-retailers (88.2%) will offer some sort of special promotion next Monday, up from 72.2% that did so in 2007, according to the eHoliday Survey from Shop.org, the online retail arm of the National Retail Federation.

“Today, Cyber Monday has become such a crucial component of the holiday season that many retailers—and shoppers—don’t remember the holidays without it,” says Joan Broughton, interim executive director of Shop.org. Shop.org, a division of the National Retail Federation, coined the term Cyber Monday in 2005 when it saw large numbers of people shopping online during work hours on the Monday after Thanksgiving.

A separate survey conducted online by PriceGrabber, a comparison shopping engine, polled consumers about the big shopping day. 37% of respondents say they plan to shop the Monday after Thanksgiving and 33% of holiday weekend shoppers say they thought retailers would offer the best deals on Monday.

Shop.org’s eHoliday Survey also revealed a bit of what consumers can expect to see next Monday. 41.2% of retailers say they are planning one-day sales, up from 32.9% who reported the same last year, and 21.6% will offer free shipping on all purchases, up from 15.7% last year. 62.7% of retailers will send customers Cyber Monday sale notices via e-mail. A separate survey from Offers.com, a coupon and deal site, says more than half of shoppers planning to shop online next Monday will visit a coupon or deal web site first.

E-retailers can expect solid sales on Monday—several projections for the holiday season indicate e-retail sales will be up 14% to 16%—but may find more of their sales that day come outside the 9-to-5 workday window. 87% of consumers in the PriceGrabber survey say they plan to shop from home rather than at work.  

Last year, U.S. online retailers sold $887 million on the Monday after Thanksgiving, which fell on Nov. 30, according to comScore Inc., which measures consumer Internet activity. But the biggest online sales day was Tuesday, Dec. 15, when sales hit $913 million, comScore says.

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