Cyber Monday Ushers in Cyber Week

Big savings on holiday shopping are about to expire

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Ninety-six million of us are going online today hunting for bargains, but we might have all week to do it.

Retailers like Toys R Us, Target, and Bloomingdale's have been filling our e-mail inboxes with offers of twenty-five percent savings -- or more-- plus free shipping on Cyber Monday. Those discounts could be enough to put more than nine hundred million dollars in the coffers of retailers today alone, according to retail analyst Howard Davidowitz, chairman of Davidowitz and Associates in Manhattan.

On the streets around Rockefeller Plaza, shoppers like Oksana Kobyleckyj told me she just got an email from Lands End offering "forty-percent off. They said it's their first official holiday coupon." She was planning to cross off some gifts from her holiday list with that coupon.

And this holiday, Davidowitz says consumers might be able to benefit from an online war of sorts. Have you noticed the Cyber "Week" promotion on Walmart's website? He says that's in part because the number two online retailer, Walmart, is taking on internet giant Amazon for sales dominance. And he tells us "the epicenter of the battle over price will be on flat screen TV's and electronics."

"It's definitely ‘Cyber Week,'”  Sucharita Mulpuru, a retail analyst at Forrester Research told Crains. “Now is a good time to go online and get what you need by the holidays.”

So far, online sales have been down for the first ten months of the year, but that's expected to turn around after Cyber Monday. The final result will be a three to four percent increase over last year, says Davidowitz. And while people like Debbie McGlynn will be taking advantage of the Cyber Monday specials filling her i-Phone inbox, the same can't be said for all shoppers. The glum news is that while last year's overall holiday shopping season (online and brick and mortar) was "the worst in forty years", Davidowitz predicts it'll be "two percent worse this year". Janice Ellis of Far Rockaway, for example, says she'll hold out on Cyber Monday. She told us "I'm not ready to shop yet. I'm still watching for better deals."

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