- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 29, 2005

If your co-workers seemed more productive yesterday than they were Monday, there’s a reason for it.

They may have been some of the 27 million people logging on to Internet shopping sites, taking part in “Cyber Monday,” which is expected to be one of the biggest online shopping days of the holiday season.

“Cyber Monday brought a surge of traffic to many online retailers as shoppers returned to work following the holiday weekend ready to tackle their holiday gift lists,” said Heather Dougherty, a senior retail analyst at Nielsen/NetRatings, a firm that measures online traffic.

More than 27 million visitors logged on Monday, 15 percent more traffic than the sites saw the previous Friday and 11 percent more than the previous Monday, Nielsen found.

“Online traffic [surges] around Thanksgiving, ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Cyber Monday’ because people are now in the mood to do their holiday shopping. Really, once Thanksgiving hits, people spend time with their family and find out what gifts they want” and they start shopping, Ms. Dougherty said.

Shoppers used their office computers, which often are faster than their home computers, retail analysts said. Ms. Dougherty said the heaviest traffic times was during lunch in time zones across the country.

Eleven million shoppers went to EBay.com, followed by Amazon.com and Wal-Mart.com, according to Nielsen.

Shoppers spent $505 million online Monday using Visa credit and debit cards, 26 percent more than the same day last year, the credit card company found.

“As expected, consumers flocked to the Internet on Monday to continue their holiday shopping,” said Brad Nightengale, Visa USA vice president of emerging products.

The busiest online shopping day in terms of sales is one of the days immediately before shipping deadlines for Christmas and Hanukkah. This year, it will probably be a day between Dec. 17 and 19, Ms. Dougherty said.

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