By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Bargain shoppers aren’t waiting until Cyber Monday to do their holiday shopping. At the stroke of midnight Friday shoppers began their buying marathon. But not everyone rushed into stores — instead, they jumped online.

New numbers show shoppers spent 20 percent more this year online than last year. With deals already posted, several major retailers started the Internet frenzy a day earlier.

It’s estimated that online shoppers will spend $37.6 billion in November and December, an increase of 15 percent over 2010.

“Cyber Monday was invented to get people use to the idea of shopping online but we don’t have that problem anymore,” said David Erickson, director of eStrategy at Tunheim.

Erickson said with more and more people shopping online, there is more money to be had, giving many businesses a reason to extend the online shopping season.

This year, many are already labeling Cyber Monday the beginning of Cyber Week.

With some of the best deals on cites like Amazon and Best Buy for electronics — Target and Wal-Mart for toys.

Erickson believes before long, Cyber Monday will become just another shopping day online.

“As it gets more and more convenient to shop online, people will do it earlier and earlier just for the convenience to get the shopping done and enjoy your family on the holidays,” Erickson said.

He believes people not only want to save money, they want to save time and gas.

“I do the online shopping. That’s definitely the way to go,” said Randi Eberle.

Eberle said she does not know the last time she went to a mall to shop.

“I do a lot of online shopping because I am a busy mom, I go to school and I work. Ao I don’t have a lot of free time to go out at all,” Eberle said.

Eberle found good deals while shopping online.

“I had never had a massage before so I went online and found a perfect getaway spa and they had really great deals,” Eberle said.

She knows the big businesses are courting her shopping dollar. Eberle said she prefers to spend her money with local businesses.

Cyber Monday is also a big hit for office workers. Half of the days online sales are expected to come from people at work.


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