Millions of Americans say they'll shop online today for Cyber Monday, furthering a trend that two Aiken residents have been a part of for several years.
Kirsten Doennebrink and Maureen Woltermann said they do the majority of, if not all, their Christmas shopping online now, finding the process to be far superior over in-store shopping in many ways.
A lot of people appear to agree with them. Nearly 130 million Americans plan to log on to retailers' websites to shop in what is estimated to be the biggest online shopping day of the year for the third year in a row. According to The Associated Press, research firm comScore expects Americans to spend $1.5 billion, up 20 percent from last year.
Amazon.com is started its Cyber Monday deals at midnight and joins the likes of Overstock.com, redEnvelope.com, QVC.com, and many others in offering deals on everything from electronics to clothes, jewelry, home decor, cookware and tools.
Doennebrink, a junior at USC Aiken, said she learned the value of online gift shopping by watching her mother.
“My mom has done it for years and years, and she never seemed frazzled or hectically searching for that last-minute present,” she said. “I started looking for stuff about two months ago.”
Doennebrink is from the West Coast and buys birthday and Christmas presents for friends and family back home.
“It's a lot easier if I want to get them something to order it online and have it shipped to their house, especially if it's something I can't find here. I can find it for pretty close to or for the exact same price,” she said. “A lot of my friends prefer to do online shopping.”
Shopping online certainly beats fighting the crowds in stores, she added, and waiting in line at the post office to mail packages.
“I am not a big fan of dealing with crowds. Plus, websites want that online shopping, so they'll offer free shipping,” Doennebrink said.
Cyber Monday is a term coined by Shop.org in 2005 after retailers noticed a trend of people shopping online on the Monday after Thanksgiving. Eighty-five percent of retailers will have a special promotion for Cyber Monday, according to a survey conducted by Shop.org.
The survey reports 47 percent of online retailers will offer coupons/percentages off their purchases; 26 percent will offer limited-time promotions and 44 percent of retailers will offer free shipping to draw in consumer traffic.
Online sales on Black Friday were up 26 percent from the same day last year, to $1.042 billion, according to The Associated Press. It was the first time online sales on Black Friday surpassed $1 billion.
Woltermann and her husband moved to Aiken 11 years ago and are “long-distance grandparents.”
Shopping online has made Christmas gift giving so much easier because, quite often, the Woltermanns are provided direct links to the websites selling the items their grandchildren want.
“We have it delivered right to our sons' houses,” Woltermann said. “I am able to do so much more without having to stand in line.”
This year, two granddaughters have requested the latest hand-held Nintendo 3DS gaming systems and, with all the features online retailers provide, the Woltermann's can compare prices and read detailed product reviews.
“It's great,” she said. “I never want to go back.”
The Associated Press contributed to this article.