Consumers are scouring the internet for online deals as they begin to cap off the five-day post-Thanksgiving shopping bonanza with Cyber Monday.
Even though e-commerce is now part and parcel of our everyday lives and much of the holiday shopping season, Cyber Monday --- a term coined back in 2005 by the National Retail Federation --- continues to be the biggest online shopping day of the year, thanks to the deals and the hype the industry has created to fuel it.
Adobe Analytics, which tracks online shopping, expects consumers to spend between $12.0 billion and $12.4 billion on Monday, making it the biggest online shopping day of all time.
For several major retailers, the "Cyber Monday" sale is a days-long event that begins over the weekend. Amazon's, for example, kicked off on Saturday and runs through Monday. Target's two-day event began overnight on Sunday, while Arkansas-based Walmart kicked off its most recent discounts Sunday evening.
Consumer spending for Cyber Week -- the five major shopping days between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday -- provides a strong indication on how much shoppers are willing to spend during the holiday season.
Shoppers have been resilient this year in the face of stubbornly high inflation, which recently reached its lowest point in more than two years yet remains painfully apparent in areas like auto and health insurance and some groceries, like beef and bread.
Economists, meanwhile, have cautioned strong spending is likely to wane in the coming months.
Stressed consumers are relying on savings to fuel their shopping and are facing more pressure from credit card debt, which has been on the rise along with delinquencies. They've also been embracing "Buy Now Pay Later" payment plans, which allow shoppers to make payments over time without - typically - charging interest.
The National Retail Federation expects holiday shoppers to spend more this year than last year. But the pace of spending will slow, it said, growing 3 percent to 4 percent compared to 5.4 percent in 2022.
A clear sense of consumer spending won't emerge until the government releases sales data for the holiday season, though preliminary data shows some good signs for the retail industry.