Online deals fuel holiday shopping

Nine out of 10 retailers will participate in Cyber Monday this year.

by Frank

Black Friday is over, but shoppers will soon scour the Internet for deals during the burgeoning Cyber Monday tradition.

This year, nine out of 10 retailers will have deals online for Cyber Monday âÄî up from seven out of 10 retailers in 2007, according to Scott Krugman, spokesman for the National Retail Federation.

“ItâÄôs a sign that retailers really need to create a true multi-channel approach to retailing and giving consumers a consistent experience,” said Krugman, who added that consumers this year can shop even from their mobile phones.

Shopping online has become “more and more mainstream,” Krugman said.

More than 106 million Americans will shop on Cyber Monday, according to a survey, up from 96.5 million last year. The number of shoppers participating has nearly doubled since 2005.

While many expect shoppers to flood online retailers during the lunch hours, Shop.orgâÄôs survey showed almost 81 percent of online consumers will shop online before lunch hours.

“YouâÄôre definitely going to see a big boost in web traffic on that Monday,” Krugman said. “The only question is how much of that shopping is going to happen from work, and whatâÄôs productivity going to be?”

ItâÄôs estimated that employers can lose up to $488 million due to lost productivity on Cyber Monday, according to a 2007 estimate by executive outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Besides the shift in shopping methods this year, sales began Thanksgiving Day, Krugman said.

“When everybody is competing on price, one way retailers can stand out is to provide more convenience [by opening earlier],” Krugman said.

More than 212 million people shopped over the three-day retail period from Thursday to Saturday this year, according to a survey by the NRF. That number is up from 195 million a year ago.

“This is the first time in a while where the consumer has more spending power,” Krugman said.

Shoppers this year spent an average of $365.34 âÄî which is up more than $20 from last year âÄî racking up a spending total of $45 billion.

At the Best Buy store in Eden Prairie, a line started to form as early as Wednesday evening, said Dani Hreha, sales manager of the Best Buy.

Best Buy also distributed Snuggies and heat lamps to people in line.

“A lot of folks were really excited to come out and shop, so it made the day kind of fun,” Hreha said.

Laptops were again one of the most anticipated items at Best Buy, but everything was selling, said Hreha, who added that the momentum of Black Friday will help carry sales through the shopping season.

Local law enforcement was asked to be present during the opening hours of each Best Buy store, Hreha said. No incidents were reported at her store, but the presence of law enforcement ensures the safety of all customers, she said.

Hideaway, a head shop in Dinkytown, had its first Black Friday sale this year, said owner Wally Sakallah.

“As soon as the door opened, over 200 people were inside the store,” Sakallah said. “Some were waiting inside their cars.”

Steve Kimble, 19, traveled to his local Best Buy in Inver Grove Heights at around 11 a.m. on Friday only to find the deals were already gone.

Kimble, who was looking to purchase a new camera in addition to some video games for his Xbox, experienced the rush of Black Friday for the first time this year but vows to shop earlier next year.

“Maybe IâÄôll wake up earlier,” he said.