Online boom may see Cyber Monday top Black Friday

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A customer who shells out at least $500 a year gets free shipping and 25-percent off a day of shopping.

No stories of early morning mall riots made the local paper.

In the past, Black Friday was famous for crowds bursting through doors and fighting over $99 DVD players. Not a lot, really, but a few best practices might help.

"The consumer still likes to go to the stores", said Charles O'Shea, Moody's lead retail analyst.

Cyber Monday is all about online retailers and their attempts to lure shoppers to their sites by offering awesome sales on some items in the hope that shoppers will end up spending more while they are there.

"American shoppers spent a record $5 billion in 24 hours", CNNMoney reports.

On Thanksgiving Day, US shoppers spent more than $2.87 billion online.

Early estimates from ShopperTrak, a data analytics company that measures the number of shoppers at stores, said foot traffic "decreased less than one percent when compared to Black Friday 2016". But more people are taking the cyber-shopping route than ever before. (NASDAQ:AMZN), in Fig 2.

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Cyber Monday is expected to have beaten Black Friday for the first time to become Britain's biggest shopping day of the year. And that doesn't even take Cyber Monday sales into account... "I mean, sitting online is fine, but there's just something about starting the holiday season with Black Friday".

Thanks to smartphone shopping, the entire idea of a designated shopping day is dying. Meanwhile, Kohl's CEO Kevin Mansell has declared that the retailer delivered a "record-breaking" Thanksgiving and on jcp.com, traffic increased at a double-digit pace throughout the week. That's an increase of more than 15% over last year's numbers. Consumers are jumping at deals whenever and wherever they want, all thanks to their phones.

What can small retailers and businesses do to stop the onslaught?

With more than $30 billion in sales so far this month, it's impossible to ignore the online shopping revolution. In the run-up to the holiday weekend, established retailers invested gradually in upgrading their websites and bulking up delivery alternatives, preempting a decline in visits to brick-and-mortar stores.

In fact, we're already seeing this theme play out. WMT is up almost 45% year-to-date, thanks in part to its strategic acquisition of online shopping hub Jet.com.

The SPDR S&P Retail exchange-traded fund (XRT) traded 0.3 percent higher, after rising as much as 1.5 percent.

The trend we are seeing play out in the retail sector - where some stocks are viewed as winners while others are viewed as losers - is a microcosm of the larger trends we are seeing play out in the market in general.

In the meantime, there's plenty of busy holiday shopping days to come.

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