Cyber Monday: What to know before you shop

Photo illustration courtesy Metro Newspaper Service

Black Friday sales have dragged on for days. Now it's Cyber Monday's turn, which means Americans are logging onto their computers and, increasingly, their smartphones to spend billions more.

U.S. consumers are expected to shell out a record $9.4 billion on Cyber Monday, a 19 percent increase from last year, according to Adobe Analytics. That's in line with buying habits seen in November, when Americans spent $68.2 billion online, or 17 percent more than 2018, data show. More than one-third of those purchases were made on smartphones, and that proportion is expected to be even higher on Cyber Monday.

Here's what you need to know if you're planning to shop.

-- Nabbing the best deals may still mean going to the store - to pick up your order. It's no secret that shipping is costly and cumbersome for retailers. As a result, more brands are offering incentives for shoppers who buy online and pick up in stores. The Children's Place, for example, is offering 5 percent off to customers who retrieve their orders, while Walmart offers pickup discounts - typically 1 to 2 percent - on items including car seats, laptops and TVs.

-- Buy that TV. If you're on the hunt for a new TV, now might be the time to bite. Televisions will be marked down an average of 19 percent on Cyber Monday, according to Adobe Analytics.


-- Look for last-minute "golden hour" deals. The final moments of Black Friday - starting at 10 p.m. Eastern time - and to be the most profitable hours of the year for retailers, according to Adobe Analytics.

Businesses rake in about 30 percent of Cyber Monday sales between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., when most Americans are home from work and taking one last swing through the sales before bed. Conversion rates - or the percentage of shoppers who actually buy something after visiting a retail site - tend to double during this period, according to Adobe.

Retailers view this "golden hour" as their last chance to clinch any pending Cyber Monday sales, so analysts say it's a good idea to keep an eye on your inbox for last-minute deals.

-- Relax. Missed a promotion? Don't panic. Chances are, analysts say, you'll see it again. Holiday shopping is turning into a weeks-long marathon, and retailers know that the majority of consumers - 64 percent of them, according to Adobe - won't finish buying until well after Cyber Monday.

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