Shoppers use phones, social sites to find best Cyber Monday deals

No need to push through crowded malls with Cyber Monday deals meant to be purchased online.

(AP, ABC7) - Shoppers seem to be just as enthusiastic about shopping on their computers and smartphones on Cyber Monday as they were about finding deals over the weekend.

“My email has been exploding,” with deals, said Fairfax resident Kristen Dorman.

More than 226 million shoppers bought more than $52 billion in goods over Black Friday weekend, and a third of shoppers bought online.

“Even though Black Friday shopping was very strong, it seems to have whet the appetite for people who are then going to shop online today,” said Ellen Davis of the National Retail Federation.

D.C.-based online couponer Living Social, deals exclusively with online retailers, and Maire Griffin said the company sold nearly 1,000 deals a minute.

Online sales on Cyber Monday, which was started in 2005 by a retail trade group to encourage Americans to shop online on the Monday after Thanksgiving, were up mid-afternoon by 15 percent from a year ago, according to data from IBM Benchmark. Meanwhile, sales from mobile devices were up 7.4 percent. The group did not give dollar amounts.

Between email coupons and online specials, it's all part of a strategy to get the best deal.

“A camera or computer equipment is easier to get online than something that I might want to look at or see the color exactly,” said Leda Hall of Washington, who confessed she’d “already hit Cyber Monday.”

The Cyber Monday numbers point to Americans' growing comfort with using their personal computers, tablets and smartphones to shop. Over the past few years, big chains like Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, have been offering more and better incentives like hourly deals and free shipping, to capitalize on that trend. It's important for retailers to make a good showing during the holiday shopping season, a time when they can make up to 40 percent of their annual revenue.

On Monday, offered its bigger, more expensive Kindle DX for $259, or $120 off the regular price. The Express clothing chain was giving 30 percent off and free shipping on all online orders. And Wal-Mart, which has been calling the holiday "Cyber Week" in ads, was offering an LG 47-inch LED TV for $879, or $320 off the regular price. But last year, sales on the day topped $1 billion for the first time, making it the heaviest day of online spending ever.

Ahead of this week's "Cyber Monday," the NRF says nearly 80 percent of retailers plan to offer special promotions. And a record 122.9 million of Americans are expected to shop on the day, up from 106.9 million who shopped on "Cyber Monday" last year, according to a survey conducted for

By early afternoon on Monday, traffic was up about 37 percent year-over-year, according to Akamai, an online content delivery company. Akamai says it expects online traffic to peak at about 9 p.m.

Traffic has been up substantially since the Monday before Thanksgiving as retailers promoted online deals earlier than ever, says Lelah Manz, Akamai's chief strategist of commerce.

"There has been a huge volume of promotional activity being driven by daily deal sites, Facebook and other social networking sites," she says.