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New holiday shopping patterns weaken Cyber Monday, but not Internet sales

This Toshiba 40-inch HDTV wass marked down to

This Toshiba 40-inch HDTV wass marked down to $299.99 on Cyber Monday. It's usually priced at $449.99. More deals at kohls.com. Credit: kohls.com

Cyber Monday sales growth is slowing as consumers embrace the convenience of online shopping, spreading out their purchases instead of being lured by one-day specials.

Internet holiday shopping rose 8.1 percent on Cyber Monday, typically the busiest day for Web shopping as people return to their desks after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. That compares with online sales growth of 17.5
percent posted on the same day a year earlier, according to International Business Machines Corp.

The declining pace of growth reflects an earlier start to the year-end shopping season, with Amazon.com Inc. and other online retailers offering online deals a week before Black Friday, when stores traditionally began offering holiday discounts.

With people shopping online more frequently, e-commerce on Saturday and Sunday was up 17 percent compared with the same weekend in 2013, according to IBM, which began measuring pre-Cyber Monday sales last year in response to shoppers’ changing habits.

“We’re still getting really strong growth on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but people are realizing it’s a season of shopping,” Soren Mills, chief marketing officer at Newegg Inc., an online electronics retailer. “We’re releasing new deals all
the time. We refresh constantly and bring in new deals to keep the excitement there. People are turning it from a daylong occasion to a monthlong occasion.”

CYBER MONDAY SLOWDOWN

The Cyber Monday sales slowdown took place even as Amazon, eBay Inc. and other online retailers cut prices on electronics to lure shoppers. Amazon touted its Fire TV streaming device for $69 as part of its Cyber Monday promotions.

eBay featured discounts on laptops and notebooks of various brands. Newegg started its holiday shopping deals on Nov. 26, with sales through Nov. 30 climbing 15 percent, Mills said.

“It’s not like the day isn’t growing, it’s just that the additional growth is being spread more evenly on other days,” said Jay Henderson, strategy program director at IBM.

Cyber Monday is typically seen as an opportunity for retailers to “stem some of the bleeding,” said Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“Black Friday becomes more irrelevant every year,” said Mulpuru, who predicts online shopping will reach $89 billion this holiday season.

EBAY, WALMART

Sales at San Jose, California-based eBay climbed 19 percent on Cyber Monday, beating the total growth rate, while Amazon lagged at 12 percent, according to ChannelAdvisor Corp., which works with merchants to increase sales. That’s
because the Seattle-based online retailer pushed deals earlier, helping it to post sales growth of 46 percent on Saturday and 24 percent on Sunday, according to the firm.

Walmart Stores Inc. said its website took a record number of orders Monday as shoppers sought discounts on tablets, high-definition televisions and toys. The world’s largest retailer has been spreading out its promotions this year to attract
 consumers, extending its online deals through Dec. 5 in what it dubbed “Cyber Week.”

“Consumers are definitely shopping earlier,” said Scot Wingo, ChannelAdvisor’s chief executive. “Thanksgiving eats into Black Friday, and Saturday and Sunday are eating into Cyber Monday.”

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