Researchers say consumers will spend in record numbers this holiday season.
When the retail dust settles after Black Friday, the smart shoppers — or at least the ones who don’t have the patience to stand in lines for hours — will settle in their home or office chairs after the weekend and start looking for online deals on “Cyber Monday.”
They will not be alone. Market research company Forrester predicts consumers will spend a record $78.7 billion this holiday season via online purchasing, 15 percent more than last year. On Cyber Monday, 86 percent of working consumers will spend at least some time at work shopping for online deals, according to a new survey by digital coupon website, RetailMeNot.com. Of those, a quarter plan to spend four hours or more shopping online for gifts during work hours on Monday, according to the survey.
Tips for safe shopping online
The Utah Division of Consumer Protection offers its annual tips to shop safely online.
Use your smartphone wisely » Be certain what apps you install are from legitimate sources. Keep an eye out for fraudulent charges on your phone bill. Never leave your phone unattended.
Don’t send cash or wire money » Never send money for an online payment over a wire service such as Western Union. Pay by credit or charge card.
Compare prices » Online scammers will offer ridiculously low, too-good-to-be-true prices. Avoid them.
Research the seller » Confirm the online seller’s physical address and phone number if you doubt their existence.
Keep anti-virus software up to date » Sketchy online sites can lead to virus or malware attacks.
Use only secure sites » Do not email financial information like your credit card number. Look for indicators that the retail site you’re using has secure measures in place.
Print and save records » Keep evidence of all transactions, including the product description, price, online receipt, and emails in case you need to return a gift after the holidays.
Be aware of their refund policy » Check to see who pays shipping if you have to return an item and if there is a “restocking fee.”
What deals can be had out there on Monday? Here’s a list some of the biggest online retailers that will be offering Cyber Monday promotions.
Amazon.com » The world’s largest online retailer will not post its Cyber Monday deals until Monday. But you can sign up for email and Facebook updates to be briefed on what’s going on sale when it happens. In the meantime, Amazon has already started its Black Friday Deals Week where it has been discounting lots of items, adding new ones about every 10 minutes. You can subscribe to their Black Friday email list to get new updates pushed to you as they happen.
Macy’s » The national department store also isn’t revealing exactly what’s going to be on sale until Monday, but they insist it will cover the gamut of their store, including women’s dresses, kitchen appliances, toys, makeup supplies and dining room accessories.
Wal-Mart » The nation’s largest retailer is hinting at what it will have on sale for Cyber Monday. For starters, it will have the Apple iPod touch for $199 (regularly $229), and a 46-inch Samsung LED HDTV for $478. But the store won’t be limiting its sales to just Monday. The retailer is planning a whole Cyber Monday Week of discounted items, and many will come with free-shipping.
Overstock.com » The Salt Lake City-based online retailer that sells overstocked goods from other stores is counting down its Cyber Monday sale. But in the meantime, it is offering early-Cyber Monday deals. Discounts include 20 percent off on a 70-inch Sharp AQUOS HDTV ($1,699), up to 65 percent off on women’s dresses, 56 percent off the usually expensive Dyson vacuum cleaners, and up to 63 percent off of assorted bedding and comforters.
Target » At the national retailer, it’s Cyber Monday promotion lasts a whole week and actually begins Sunday. You can sign up for email updates about what will go on sale. A sneak peek on their website suggests they’ll put video game systems on sale Monday, certain toys on Tuesday, home appliances on Wednesday, more electronics on Thursday and bedding on Dec. 8.
Best Buy » The big-box electronics chain will host its Cyber Monday sale with one-time sales on electronic goods including “laptops, desktops and all-in-one computers, HDTVs, Blu-ray players, digital cameras, mobile phones, video games and much more,” according to its website. Again, you can sign up for email alerts to be the first to know what goes on sale.
JC Penney » The national chain already is offering 20 to 25 percent off on online purchases over $100 or more, but it will host its two-day Cyber Monday deals on 50,000 items beginning Sunday. It’s also offering free shipping on purchases over $99.
Tiger Direct » The giant online electronics retailer is holding its Cyber Monday sale now with PC laptops on sale, as well as HDTVs, external hard drives, smartphones and desktop computer components. It is offering free shipping for orders above $100.
Kohls » The retailer already has Black Friday deals on more than 500 items, but it’s also going to be hosting a Cyber Monday promotion. To learn more about it, you can sign up for an email alert which also gets you $5 off on an in-store purchase and a 10 percent discount online. Also, if you sign up for mobile alerts on your smartphone, you will get a promo code for 15 percent off on your next online purchase.
Sears » The department store will hold its Cyber Monday sale Sunday at midnight, and it will run through Wednesday morning.
Kmart » The department chain also is beginning its Cyber Monday promotion Sunday at midnight through Tuesday night. Free shipping is offered for purchases of $59 or more.