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In this Friday, file photo, Tashalee Rodriguez, of Boston, uses a smartphone app while shopping at Macy's in downtown Boston. Shoppers are flocking online Monday, Nov. 28, 2016, as Cyber Monday sales hit their peak. (Michael Dwyer/AP)
In this Friday, file photo, Tashalee Rodriguez, of Boston, uses a smartphone app while shopping at Macy's in downtown Boston. Shoppers are flocking online Monday, Nov. 28, 2016, as Cyber Monday sales hit their peak. (Michael Dwyer/AP)

Cyber Monday becomes 'Cyber Month' as stores offer deals over several days Add to ...

The Monday after Thanksgiving is still a time when millions of Americans pause to check out online deals and check off items from their gift list – but a one-day Cyber Monday frenzy appears to be going the way of the dial-up modem.

Shoppers who have high-speed connections at home and on their phones are pouncing on deals that stores are spreading out over several days, leaving the so-called Cyber Monday online shopping bonanza in danger of losing its title as the top online sales day.

“Because Cyber Monday is no longer about the connection, it’s just another sales day that I can plan for, like a Labour Day sale or Fourth of July sale,” Gartner analyst Gene Alvarez said. “‘I know it’s coming, does it fit into my schedule, and will I do my holiday shopping that day, Black Friday or wait to see what comes up later?”

So instead of doorbuster markdowns on a select few products, retailers are shifting to a stream of discounts and alerts during the entire week via e-mail and social media. Cartwheel, Target Corp.’s digital app, started offering holiday deals including 50 per cent off one toy a day on Nov. 1. Amazon.com Inc. started offering 35 days of Black Friday deals on Nov. 16. And Wal-Mart Stores Inc. kicked off its Cyber Monday deals on Friday for the first time as it aimed to grab customers ahead of its competitors.

“It’s really this week-long flow of deals,” said Shawn DuBravac, chief economist at the Consumer Technology Association.

The Monday after Thanksgiving has been the busiest day of the year for online shopping since 2010, and referred to the day when people returned after the holiday weekend to offices where they had high-speed Internet connections.

Cyber Monday still packs the biggest punch in terms of a single online shopping day – for now. Shoppers spent $540-million (U.S.) between midnight and 10 a.m. ET on Monday, affirming that sales are expected to total $3.36-billion, up 9.4 per cent from a year ago, according to an early tally by Adobe Digital Insights, which tracks online retail transactions.

But other days are catching up. Adobe’s forecast puts Cyber Monday neck and neck with Black Friday, when consumers spent $3.34-billion, a 21.6-per-cent jump from last year.

Joseph Jaconi, whose company TechArmor sells smartphone accessories through Amazon, other outlets and his e-commerce site, said Black Friday was his biggest sales day of the year and he expected Cyber Monday to outpace that, will sales about double or triple that of a normal day. Amazon kicking off its deals on Nov. 16 helped give the whole month a sales lift.

“Cyber Monday has kind of become Cyber Month,” he said.

Research firm comScore predicted that online spending on Cyber Monday will jump to $3.5-billion from $3.12-billion last year, and will release its tally for the day on Wednesday. The firm’s preliminary holiday shopping forecast, which includes November and December, is for online sales to rise as much as 19 per cent to $81-billion.

Over all, the National Retail Federation trade group is forecasting holiday sales for the November and December period to rise 3.6 per cent to $655.8-billion, better than the 3-per-cent growth seen in the year-ago period.

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