Online spending on Cyber Monday breaks records

The first Monday after Thanksgiving saw online spending increase by 33 percent.

Online spending on Cyber Monday breaks records

Megan Nicolai

E-shoppers set records for consumer spending on Cyber Monday this year.

The first Monday after Thanksgiving saw online spending increase by 33 percent compared to the same time last year, as retailers offered deep discounts online.

The average consumer also spent more: $198.26, compared to $193.24 in 2010, according to a report by web-analytics firm IBM Benchmark.

Deals on Monday included a $200 discount on a Samsung television on TargetâÄôs website, a $199 Kindle Fire on Amazon and a $45 FujiFilm digital camera from Walmart.

Modern methods of making purchases online increased as well. The use of mobile devices like smart phones for shopping increased from 3.9 percent last year to 10.8 percent this year.

Online shopping wasnâÄôt popular with all University of Minnesota students, however. Freshmen Delaney Reger and Katie McCann said they prefer shopping for holiday deals in person. Both visited stores on Black Friday and thought the crowds were manageable.

A survey from the National Retail Federation estimated more than 226 million shoppers took advantage of after-thanksgiving deals either in-person or online.

The increase in spending is deceptive, however, said George John, a marketing professor in the Carlson School of Management. He said the increases from last yearâÄôs after-Thanksgiving weekend were compared to 2010, a very weak economic year.

âÄúItâÄôs not the case that weâÄôre back to normal and spending happily,âÄù John said. He said many people expect the spending bump to last through the holiday season, but he doesnâÄôt predict that.

Shaky economic markets like housing still keep consumers from busting out their wallets, John said. Still, he thinks the increase in mall traffic came from retailers aggressively trying to entice customers, like the controversial midnight openings at Walmart, Best Buy and Target.

University junior Lia Assimacopoulos, didnâÄôt go shopping this weekend âÄî either in-person or online. She said that while the advertising from retailers may get people to brave the crowds, it was a little annoying for those wishing to avoid the craze.

McCann said commercials from major retailers put her in the mood for shopping, however.

âÄúTargetâÄôs commercials were absolutely hilarious,âÄù she said.

Black Friday sales rose 6.6 percent from last year, according to ShopperTrak, a company that tracks mall traffic. The increase placed the total spending in the U.S. over the Thanksgiving weekend at $52 billion, according to the National Retail Federation report.

The increase in online shopping Monday may have set a record, but Cyber Monday shopping will never replace the Black Friday shopping event, John said. Typically, shoppers use the Internet to research prices for products, but still prefer traditional, in-person shopping.

Assimacopoulos tried shopping on Black Friday once but doubts sheâÄôll every try again.

âÄúIt was insane,âÄù she said. âÄúIâÄôd rather pay more money to have a better shopping experience.âÄù