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What's Behind A Record Cyber Monday in Sales

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Rochester: What's Behind A Record Cyber Monday in Sales
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With the Black Friday buzz behind us, shoppers headed online for Cyber Monday. This was the first year online sales on Black Friday surpassed one billion dollars.

The research firm comScore estimated Americans would spend $1.5 billion on Cyber Monday, a 20 percent increase from last year. This increase in online sales is all part of what one marketing professor calls the "Christmas creep." You see Christmas decorations well before Thanksgiving; this year, the same tactics were used online.

The National Retail Federation says 247 million people visited stores and websites this past weekend. But for those who wanted a holiday shopping experience closer to home, Cyber Monday couldn't come soon enough.

Research showed a major increase in smartphone shoppers grabbing doorbuster deals even days before Cyber Monday. Facebook is lit up with Cyber Monday ads.

School of Business professor George Cook says technology has been a major gamechanger.

"This Black Friday being down 1.8 percent is the first time since I think 2008, the recessionary period, that Black Friday hasn't gone up year after year. Black Friday online sales though surged about 20-26 percent," Cook said.

That's good news for the economy.

“Temporary unemployment this time in the retail stores was up around 600,000 people and that's up a little bit over last year. So when you put money in the economy is creates jobs even temporarily and I think people are starting to feel a little better about what's going on," said Cook.

Online sales on Thanksgiving Day, which is traditionally not the most popular shopping day, were also up 32 percent from last year.

Cook says while online sales are up overall, Black Friday and in-store shopping are both here to stay.

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