Happy Cyber Monday!
With people returning to work (and their high-speed Internet connections) after the holiday weekend, the Monday after Thanksgiving has produced a spike in online shopping in recent years (don't worry, we won't tell the boss!).
Online sales are expected to rise 24% over last year to hit $20 billion this season (not counting private sales such as those on eBay), so e-business is no small consideration to retailers, though it's still a fraction of the total holiday sales tally. Many retailers have special offers that are only available online. Shoppers are also discovering wholesale sites such as Overstock.com and bargain-finder aggregate sites such as Shopzilla.
Retailers will also watch online sales carefully this season because some (but not all) Black Friday sales results were below estimates. Perhaps shoppers are more price-sensitive than in the past in light of higher fuel costs. Or they may just not be that anxious to be trampled by a mob.
RELATED: Concerned about the safety of online shopping? Visit the Federal Trade Commission's online shopping guide.
UPDATE: Although there may be an uptick in online sales on the Monday after Thanksgiving, retailers say that the busiest online sales days of the year are actually between Dec. 5 and 11. Indeed, Cyber Monday appears to be mostly about marketing hype. But then, so is Black Friday, which has morphed into what is almost an unofficial holiday in its own right.