NEW YORK — Cyber Monday deals are being stretched out this holiday season, crimping sales on the day itself.
Retailers from Target to Amazon have been offering online deals since the beginning of November, and are promising “cyber” deals all week. That seems to have put a dent in Cyber Monday sales. Sales were up, according to estimates. But they weren’t as strong as some were expecting.
IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark reported that online sales rose 8.5 percent compared to 2013. That still makes it the busiest U.S. online shopping day of the year so far — a title the date has held since 2010. But it was less stellar growth than last year’s Cyber Monday, when online sales jumped more than 20 percent.
“As the holiday shopping season becomes less concentrated on a single day, retailers and marketers took advantage by making it easier for consumers to find the best deals on the go, whenever and wherever they chose to shop,” said Jay Henderson, director of IBM Smarter Commerce.
One bright spot was mobile shopping: shopping on a tablet or smartphone accounted for 41.2 percent of all online traffic, up from 30.1 percent last year. Mobile sales reached 22 percent of total Cyber Monday online sales.
Sterne Agee’s chief economist Lindsey Piegza said the 8 percent rise fell short of projected expectations of a 13 percent to 15 percent gain.
“With gasoline prices down markedly over the past few months leaving consumers with extra cash in their pockets, many retailers are befuddled over such disappointing spending numbers,” she said. The sales figures highlight how fragile the U.S. economy remains, particularly the consumer sector, she said.
A clearer picture of how Cyber Monday sales fared will emerge when research firm comScore reports sales results later Tuesday.
The name Cyber Monday was coined in 2005 by the National Retail Federation’s online arm, called Shop.org, to encourage people to shop online. After retailers revved up deals for the day, it became the busiest online shopping day in 2010.
The name was also a nod to online shopping being done at work where faster connections made it easier to browse.
Some retailers painted a rosy picture of the day. Walmart.com said it received the most online orders in its history on Cyber Monday. It added that mobile made up about 70 percent of the traffic to its website between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday.
But some shoppers were disappointed by the deals. Preston Neill, 28, from Philadelphia, took advantage of early online deals over the weekend like 40 percent off board games from Amazon and clothing that was 40 percent off from Banana Republic, over the holiday weekend. But he said the deals on Cyber Monday seemed similar to what he had already seen earlier.
“I haven’t seen anything that jumps out at me,” he said. “I feel like (Cyber Monday) is the Super Bowl of shopping, there is a lot of hype, then it doesn’t quite live up.”