NEW YORK – Power up and shop.
Millions of Americans took advantage of online deals ranging from free shipping to discounted electronics and clothing Monday, which was expected to be the busiest online shopping day of the year.
The spending surge on so-called Cyber Monday came after a disappointing holiday weekend in stores. And it showed that Americans are increasingly comfortable buying items on tablets and smartphones.
Early results showed online shopping was up 18.7 percent compared with the same time last year, according to figures by IBM Benchmark. Mobile traffic, which includes smartphones and tablets, accounted for 30 percent of all online traffic.
Brandon Harris, 27, from Memphis, Tenn., started shopping at midnight Sunday and by Monday had spent about $300 and completed half of his Christmas shopping.
I havent shopped for a Christmas present in a store in three years, he said, usinghis iPad instead. Its a lot more convenient to be at home and shop.
The National Retail Federation predicts more than 131 million people will shop online Monday, up about 2 percent from last year. Meanwhile, UPS expects to pick up more than 32 million packages Monday, about 1 million more than Cyber Monday last year.
And research firm comScore expects Cyber Monday sales of $2 billion, up from about $1.47 billion last year.
Joel Anderson, president and CEO of Walmart.com, said he anticipates Cyber Monday to be the sites busiest day ever. He said 2013 is the tipping point for mobile traffic, which includes smartphones and tablets.
More than half of Walmart.coms traffic came from smartphones and tablets on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, Anderson said. And he expected the same to be true Monday.
2013 is the year online went mobile, he said.