Holiday shoppers are expected to buy more online, and be more mobile, this year

Holiday shoppers are expected to buy more online, and be more mobile, this year

The lines between Black Friday and Cyber Monday are blurring

Holiday e-commerce is expected to jump 14% to 17% this year compared to 2012, despite shoppers' financial worries and a shorter holiday shopping season.

Specific shopping days, like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, are expected to show strong sales, according to Kate Dreyer, a spokeswoman for ComScore Inc.

"Over the past several years, each holiday season has seen the continuation of many online shopping trends that are not necessarily new but nevertheless shape the dynamics of the season," Dreyer wrote in a blog post. "The holiday shopping period continues to kick off earlier and earlier -- with an increasing number of retailers offering deals on and even before Thanksgiving Day -- and Cyber Monday rises in prominence and promotional activity."

Online shopping should be strong enough this year to actually blur the lines between Black Friday, which is the day after Thanksgiving when people tend to flock to retail stores, and Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving when people tend to make a lot of online purchases from their office computers.

"Many U.S. consumers are going online for holiday deals on the biggest shopping day of the year for brick-and-mortar retailers," a Nielsen report released Monday said.

The Nielsen study showed that 51% of those surveyed plan to shop online on Black Friday instead of dealing with packed parking lots and throngs of grumpy shoppers at the mall. And 46% said they would be doing online shopping on Cyber Monday.

According to comScore, though, people aren't just sitting in front of their laptops or desktops to do their buying. A third of the average leading retailers' monthly traffic now comes exclusively from mobile devices.

Shoppers also are increasingly using their smartphones and tablets to "showroom," which means they check out an item, like a bicycle or a sweater, in the store and then actually purchase it online. ComScore reported that 76% of the people it surveyed say they showroom "sometimes."

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is

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