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Online holiday sales up, but still just a fraction of the pie

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Associated Press / November 29, 2010

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NEW YORK — After a weekend of strong online sales, retail websites are rolling out the gimmicks today on “Cyber Monday’’ to draw buyers.

The promotions on the Monday after Thanksgiving got their name from a retail trade group, which promoted the idea that people, upon returning to work, would log onto their computers there and shop.

Now it’s about the deals online in the way that Black Friday means a shopping frenzy in stores.

IBM’s Coremetrics predicts the discounts, free-shipping offers, and other come-ons will make Cyber Monday the busiest online shopping day of the season.

The weekend saw strong sales online. From Thanksgiving through Saturday, online spending rose 14 percent, according to Coremetrics data. It also said shoppers were buying 15 percent more items per order.

The online research firm comScore reported late yesterday that e-commerce spending for the first 26 days of November rose 13 percent, reaching $11.64 billion, compared with the same period a year ago.

Black Friday saw $648 million in online sales, marking a 9 percent increase.

Thanksgiving Day, helped by merchants’ concentrated efforts to push exclusive deals, enjoyed $407 million in spending, up 28 percent from 2009.

Online spending is still a relatively small piece of the holiday pie, between 8 and 10 percent by various estimates. But devotees are confirmed in their enthusiasm for its convenience.

Scott Miller, a police officer from New York, plans to shop only online this Christmas season.

“All of my shopping is going to be over the Internet,’’ he said. “Because of my job I don’t have enough time to go out, especially at Christmastime, because I want to catch the [overtime] hours.’’

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Cyber Monday deals

Cyber Monday deals

A selection of some of today's sales at various online retailers.