NEW YORK — Weeks of deals didn't stop people from heading online to shop on the Monday after Thanksgiving.
Cyber Monday was on track to become the biggest U.S. online shopping day ever, according to Adobe Analytics, the research arm of software maker Adobe.
Nearly $3.4 billion had been spent online as of 3:30 p.m., up about 17 percent from a year ago, Adobe said. And more people are picking up their phones to shop: Web traffic from mobile devices, including tablets, is expected to top desktop computers for the first time this year, Adobe said.
The Echo Dot was the top-selling electronic item on Amazon, followed by the Fire TV. Board games, Fingerlings and Legos were best-sellers in Amazon's toy section.
Over at eBay, one $745 Apple MacBook Air was sold every five seconds, the company said. And J.C. Penney said its top-selling items on its website were towels, $25 diamond stud earrings and a Liz Claiborne bag that has a built-in phone charger.
Target and Toys R Us offered 15 percent off most items. Walmart.com tripled the amount of items available on its site from last year. But Amazon is expected to be the big winner over the holiday season, with Bain & Co. expecting the online retailer to capture 50 percent of all online sales growth this year.
C. Britt Beemer, the chairman of the consumer-focused America's Research Group, says computers and smaller electronics were the top-sellers this Cyber Monday, followed by clothing. "It's easier to ship," he says about apparel.
Cyber Monday's advance follows up a solid start to the shopping season on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, one technology company says.
Spending for Thursday and Friday together increased 11.9 percent compared with the same two-day period last year, says First Data, which analyzed online and in-store payments across different forms of cards from 1.3 million merchants. Retail spending, which excludes grocery stores, restaurants, auto parts merchants and gas stations, rose 9.3 percent.
The buying was helped by higher consumer confidence, low unemployment and cooler weather, the firm said. It said hurricane cleanup-related spending may also have had an effect.
Nationwide, both retail spending and overall spending rose nearly 6 percent from Nov. 1 through Nov. 22. The firm's data captures about 40 percent of all card transactions in the U.S. but excludes cash.
E-commerce sales rose 13 percent for the Thanksgiving and Black Friday period, the traditional kickoff to the holiday shopping season. Physical stores saw an increase of 8.5 percent, First Data said.
According to First Data, 29 percent of the total dollars spent over the two-day period came from e-commerce, up from 25 percent last year and about double from the 14 percent of 2014. Electronics and appliances were by far the big attractions, with a 19 percent sales increase. The clothing and accessories category was the only one among the seven that First Data tracks to show higher sales growth in stores for Thanksgiving and Black Friday compared with online.