How eager are retailers to boost sales this holiday season? It's no longer enough for them to offer one special day of discounts to online shoppers -- they're stretching the deals out over an entire week.
While retailers are still trumpeting deals for this Monday after Thanksgiving, many such as Amazon, Target and Walmart are now promoting some version of "Cyber Week" and extending Web-only deals through next weekend. The online discounts apply to all types of items, from appliances to clothes to consumer electronics.
Walmart, for example, says it will offer 200 deals on its website each day through Friday, plus free shipping on all orders over $35. Not to be outdone, Amazon is promising new deals as often as every 10 minutes through Saturday, along with free shipping on "eligible orders" of $35 and over (it's not clear how they define "eligible.")
In fact, if you're not getting free shipping on your online purchases this week, you may want to shop elsewhere.
Clothing chains such as H&M, Gap and Banana Republic also are offering storewide Cyber Monday discounts of 40%.
It's not always clear whether Cyber Monday discounts are much greater than what retailers offer online during other sale events. Also, supplies may be limited.
Here's a sampling of some online deals being advertised for Cyber Monday (and in many cases, the rest of the week):
-- Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet with 16GB of storage: $399, down from $499 (Amazon)
-- Canon Powershot A3500 16MP digital camera with 5x optical zoom (red model only): $99, down from $199 (Target)
-- HTC One 32GB smartphone: 1 cent (it's normally $199), with two-year contract from AT&T, Verizon or Sprint (Amazon)
-- 46-inch Samsung LED TV: $478, marked down from $949 (Walmart)
-- Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth rechargeable portable speaker: $69, down from $199 (eBay)
-- HP Pavilion 15-N066US 15-inch laptop: $459, down from $649 (Staples)
-- Motorola Moto X smartphone: $349 without a contract, down from $499. The discount is available for all carriers and for both 16GB and 32GB models, although Motorola says supplies will be limited.
-- Dyson DC41 Multifloor Bagless Upright Vacuum: $399, down from $549 (Best Buy)
-- Select coats from Kenneth Cole, Calvin Klein, DKNY and London Fog: 50% off, plus free shipping on online purchases of $75 or more (Macy's)
-- Half off select men's and women's clothes and accessories (Target)
The term Cyber Monday was coined in 2005 by a division of the National Retail Federation with the thinking that shoppers, after browsing in stores over Thanksgiving weekend, would wait to make online purchases Monday from their offices, where they had faster Internet connections.
That notion is somewhat outdated now because 70% of Americans have high-speed broadband Internet service at home, not to mention on their phones and tablets.
But since 2010, Cyber Monday actually has been the biggest online-shopping day of the year -- and retailers are trying to capitalize.