NEW YORK (AP) - Bye-bye Black Friday. So long Small Business Saturday. Now, it's Cyber Monday's turn.
Cyber Monday, coined in 2005 by a shopping trade group that noticed online sales spiked on the Monday following Thanksgiving, is the next in a series of days that stores are counting on to jumpstart the holiday shopping season.
It's estimated that this year's Cyber Monday will be the biggest online shopping day of the year for the third year in a row: According to research firm comScore, Americans are expected to spend $1.5 billion, up 20 percent from last year on Cyber Monday, as retailers have ramped up their deals to get shoppers to click on their websites.
Amazon.com, which started its Cyber Monday deals at midnight today, is offering as much as 60 percent off a Panasonic VIERA 55-inch TV that's usually priced higher than $1,000. Sears is offering $430 off a Maytag washer and dryer, each on sale for $399. And Kmart is offering 75 percent off all of its diamond earrings and $60 off a 12-in-1 multigame table on sale for $89.99.
Retailers are hoping the deals will appeal to shoppers like Matt Sexton, 39, who for the first time plans to complete all of his holiday shopping online this year on his iPad tablet computer. Sexton, who plans to spend up to $4,000 this season, already shopped online on the day after Thanksgiving known as Black Friday and found a laptop from Best Buy for $399, a $200 savings, among other deals.
"The descriptions and reviews are so much better online so you can compare and price shop and for the most part get free shipping," said Sexton, who lives in Queens, N.Y., and is a manager at a utility company.
Sexton also said that it's easier to return an online purchase to a physical store than it had been in previous years. "That helps with gifts," he said.
How well retailers fare on Cyber Monday will offer insight into Americans' evolving shopping habits during the holiday shopping season, a time when stores can make up to 40 percent of their annual revenue.