Shoppers logging on for Cyber Monday, biggest online shopping day of the year

After heading to the malls on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, shoppers will log on for Cyber Monday, the biggest online shopping day of the year.

This year, Cyber Monday shoppers are expected to spend more than $2.5 billion. Fewer people spent money at the malls over the Thanksgiving weekend, so Monday will be important for the holidays' bottom line.

If you're planning to get the best deals, remember to research sales first. Be sure to look for coupon codes for even deeper discounts. And you could find special sales through retailers Twitter and Facebook feeds.

Retailers have been pushing deals all month and particularly the past week, hoping to spur customers to spend. That may have taken away some spending from Thanksgiving weekend.

There's reason to think a lot of dollars are migrating online.

PayPal said its global mobile payment volume jumped 47 percent on Thanksgiving Day compared with last year. Wal-Mart said it had more than 500 million page views on Thanksgiving, and eBay says it sold 2,000 iPad Air 2 tablets for $399 at a rate of one a second.

Amazon has been offering special deals since Nov. 21, adding new discounts as often as every 10 minutes for eight days straight. Deals include up to 45 percent off some Samsung TVs and 28 percent off Beats by Dre headphones, selling for $275.

Wal-Mart said it has doubled its Cyber Week deals to 500 compared with last year, including up to half off some TVs, tablets and toys with free-shipping offers.

Toys R Us is offering online deals for 11 days that began the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and also has free-shipping offers. Cyberdeals include $15 off Disney "Frozen" Princess dolls that are regularly $50 and $20 off a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Battroborg Electronic Battle Game that is usually $80.

The name "Cyber Monday" was coined in 2005 by the National Retail Federation's online arm, 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, less of a factor now.

Cyber Monday comes after a weekend that saw 5.3 percent fewer shoppers and 11 percent less spending, according to estimates by the National Retail Federation.

"Online is nowhere near its maturity, so Cyber Monday should be big, with a lot of strength in the days leading up to it," Forester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru said. "More consumers are spending more shopping dollars online."

She expects two spikes in online shopping: one during the long Thanksgiving weekend, including Cyber Monday, and one later in December when shipping deadlines to get items by Christmas start to hit.

Research firm comScore expects online sales to rise 16 percent to $61 billion during the November and December shopping season, up 16 percent from last year. ComScore tracks U.S. online sales based on observed behavior of a representative U.S. consumer panel of 2 million Web users.

The National Retail Federation has forecast overall holiday sales will increase 4.1 percent to $616.9 billion in 2014.

(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)

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