Cyber Monday kicks off the unofficial online holiday shopping season, offering an alternative to the long lines, huge crowds -- and pepper spray -- that are such a huge part of Black Friday
The Monday after Thanksgiving is the biggest online shopping day of the year as consumers move a bigger chunk of their gift buying to online retailers . The National Retail Federation says the average person plans to do 36% of their holiday shopping online -- up from 33% in 2010.
More shoppers are visiting the Facebook pages and Twitter accounts of their favorite retailers before shopping, says the NRF. Many stores offer coupons for "Liking" their page and special discount codes offered only on their social media sites. Group-buying sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial are also predicted to see a boost on Cyber Monday this year.
The term "Cyber Monday" was first coined in 2005 to explain the sharp rise in online sales the Monday after Thanksgiving. Online sales have grown each year as stores began marketing to the day, and last year online shops recorded close to $900 million in one-day sales.