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Cyber Monday sales reflect changing purchase patterns

Americans were expected to spend $1.5 billion while shopping online Monday, up 20 percent from last year’s post-Thanksgiving Internet shopping sale.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Americans were expected to spend $1.5 billion while shopping online Monday, up 20 percent from last year’s post-Thanksgiving Internet shopping sale.

NEW YORK — Americans clicked away on their computers and smartphones for deals on Cyber Monday, which is expected to be the biggest online shopping day in history.

Shoppers are expected to spend $1.5 billion on Cyber Monday, up 20 percent from last year, according to research firm comScore. That would not only make it the biggest online shopping day of the year, but the biggest since comScore started tracking shoppers’ online buying habits in 2001.

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Online shopping was up 26.6 percent on Cyber Monday compared with the same time period a year ago, according to figures released Monday evening by IBM Benchmark, which tracks online sales. Sales from mobile devices, which include tablets, rose 10.2 percent. The group does not track dollar amount sales.

The strong start to Cyber Monday, a term coined in 2005 by a shopping trade group that noticed people were doing a lot of shopping on their work computers on the Monday following Thanksgiving, comes after overall online sales rose significantly during the four-day holiday shopping weekend that began on Thanksgiving.

‘‘Online’s piece of the holiday pie is growing every day, and all the key dates are growing with it,’’ said Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru. ‘‘The Web is becoming a more significant part of the traditional brick-and-mortar holiday shopping season.’’

It’s the latest sign that Americans are becoming addicted to the convenience of the Web. With the growth in smartphones and tablet computers, shoppers can buy what they want, whenever they want, wherever they want. As a result, retailers have ramped up the deals they’re offering on their websites during the holiday shopping season, a time when stores can make up to 40 percent of their annual revenue.

Amazon.com, which started its Cyber Monday deals at 12:01 a.m. Monday, offered as much as 60 percent off a Panasonic VIERA 55-inch television that is usually priced higher than $1,000. Sears had $430 off a Maytag washer and dryer, each on sale for $399. And Kmart offered 75 percent off all its diamond earrings and $60 off a 12-in-1 multi­game table on sale for $89.99.

How well retailers fare on Cyber Monday will offer insight into Americans’ evolving shopping habits during the holiday shopping season. With the growth in high-speed Internet access and the wide use of smartphones and tablets, people are relying less on their work computers to shop than they did when Shop.org, the digital division of trade group The National Retail Federation, introduced the term ‘‘Cyber Monday.’’

As a result, the period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday has become busy for online shopping as well.

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