On your mark...get set...Cybershop
All the advertisements may become a blur over the holidays, but Monday still sticks out as the largest day for online deal grabbing, according to the National Retail Federation.
"This was all based on actual consumer shopping habits in 2005," said National Retail Federation Vice President of Digital Retail Artemis Berry of Cyber Monday. The nation's largest retail association has been tracking cyber sales for the last decade.
"A couple of the categories that we see do extremely well are technology products, so the latest x-device," she said. "Another huge category is sporting goods also does extremely well, and then the big-bucket items - the home improvement categories - making home a little bit happier with the next, greatest fridge or washing machine."
The NRF estimates nearly 60 percent of Americans will go online Monday to buy these items. Berry said that is how Cyber Monday got its name.
"Remembering back in pre-iPhone, before the majority of the country had access to high-speed internet at home, that was when people would come back after the shopping weekend to their desks at work, where they had high-speed internet," Berry said. "That is why we coined the term. It was based on what we would see consumers actually do."
So what do consumers do today? Berry said consumers of all ages are expected to spend more than $3 billion today - and sales grow and break records every year.
"More people are doing it than ever," she said. "We have seen that number grow every year. This year it's the highest again it's ever been, at around 57 percent of the people surveyed expecting to do at least some shopping online today."
The NRF does not break down sales regionally, but Berry expects cyber sales are impacted by one differentiating factor.
"I think the big thing is access to high-speed internet to be able to make the shopping experience better," she said. "So I would bet for rural areas, maybe there's a difference from large metropolitan areas. "I mean, not at 2005 levels, but it's still a challenge for some areas across the country."
So how do you find the best deals? Berry suggested setting a budget, getting on the email list of your favorite stores, then going on the NRF's CyberMonday.com website, where more than 900 retailers of all sizes and products have posted their cyber offers.