As Black Friday has now morphed into a two-day event with the addition of shopping deals on Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday has in many cases similarly stretched into an extended affair.

Cyber Monday, typically the largest online shopping day of the year, is now being dubbed "Cyber Week" by some retailers.

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Online retailer Amazon.com started adding deals on Saturday and will continue them for eight days, with promises of a new offer added every 10 minutes. Amazon also says it is offering exclusive deals through its mobile app for the first time this year.

Mega-retailer Walmart also kicked off its online deals on Saturday and will continue them until Friday, with offers of up to 50 percent off televisions, toys and tablets and free shipping.

Target is also doing a "Cyber Week" with deals of buy one, get one 60 percent off for clothing, shoes and accessories and 40 percent off all home items.

For those who can't be caught shopping online while at work, some retailers, like Walmart, are offering deals starting this evening. Walmart estimated that nearly 1 in 5 shoppers don't plan to shop online on Cyber Monday until the evening.

Last year, Cyber Monday sales grew more than 20 percent over the year before, according to IBM Corp., which analyzes activity on more than 800 client retail sites. Much of that growth was driven by mobile, which accounted for 17 percent of sales.

"Cyber Monday" was coined in 2005 by the National Retail Federation to encourage online shopping and became the biggest online shopping day of the year in 2010.

This year, computer software company Adobe predicts Cyber Monday will continue to be the largest online sales day of the year, with $2.6 billion in purchases and a 15 percent growth in sales. About 20 percent of online sales would be made through mobile devices on Cyber Monday, according to Adobe, which analyzes data from 4,500 websites.

Black Friday also continues to grow as an online shopping day. U.S. online sales rose 32 percent to $766 million on Thanksgiving and 26 percent to $1.2 billion on Black Friday, according to retail analytics firm comScore.

Cyber Monday or Cyber Week deals could be crucial for retailers this year.

The number of individuals who shopped in stores or online from Thanksgiving Day through Sunday fell 5.2 percent, leading to an 11 percent decrease in total spending, according to the National Retail Federation. The number of people shopping in brick and mortar stores on Black Friday fell 14 percent, though the amount spent by shoppers rose about 2 percent, according to RetailNext, an analytics firm.

cwells@baltsun.com

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