November 21, 2011, 4:19 PM

Thanksgiving is for selling

Half of online retailers plan special offers on Turkey Day, Shop.org says.

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More than half of U.S. online retailers, or 51%, will do their best to tempt sated, stuffed and perhaps sleepy consumers on Thursday by offering promotions good only on Thanksgiving Day, suggest survey results released today by Shop.org, the e-commerce arm of the National Retail Federal trade group. Nearly eight in ten retailers will offer promotions on the first Monday after Thanksgiving, the shopping event now known as Cyber Monday. Overall, 92.2% of online merchants will offer some kind of deal over Thanksgiving weekend, hoping to spark holiday sales before all those leftovers turn into refrigerated chemistry experiments.

BIGresearch conducted the study for Shop.org by polling 1,685 consumers and 51 online retailers in September and October. “Consumers have come to expect the absolute best online holiday deals on Cyber Monday,” said BIGresearch consumer insights director Pam Goodfellow. “Holiday shoppers love the idea of preparing for special online sales events as many begin scanning catalogs and retailers’ web sites days in advance, marking gift items for their family, friends and even themselves.”

The deals on Cyber Monday will vary, Shop.org says. For instance, 45% of retailers plan to dangle coupons or percent-off offers before shoppers, while nearly 38% will employ limited-time discounts. 30%, meanwhile, will offer free standard shipping, albeit with unspecified conditions, while 15% will trot out free gifts with purchases.

Employers can expect a drop-off in productivity as the holiday shopping season heats up, the Shop.org survey indicated. That’s because 58% of consumers will shop from office computers this year, according to survey results.

Then again, perhaps bosses shouldn’t fret too much, suggests results from another survey released today, this one from PriceGrabber.com. The comparison shopping engine polled 2,322 U.S. online consumers in September and October and found that only 12% of them plan to shop from work on Cyber Monday. 4% will shop from their mobile devices, while 84% will purchase from home. And those consumers will tend to shop early in the day, with 33% planning to seek gifts between 5 a.m. and 8:59 a.m., with another 29% hoping to make purchases between 9 a.m. and 11:59 a.m. More men than women—36% vs. 31%—plan to shop in the morning.  

"Our survey findings reveal that consumers are largely aware of the great deals and offers available on retailer sites on Cyber Monday, and we aren't surprised to see them shop during the earlier part of the day or before arriving at work to take advantage of the great bargains before the best items are sold out," says Graham Jones, general manager of PriceGrabber. "While most consumers plan to shop from a home computer on Cyber Monday, we expect mobile shopping to have an undeniable presence this year, allowing even busy commuters to make the most of what retailers are sure to offer."

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