Local News

Did Cyber Monday shopping fizzle out this year?

SEBRING - At Wal-Mart.com, shoppers on Cyber Monday could get a Samsung 46-inch television that normally sells for $949.99 for $478.

Amazon's deals included $50 off a Kindle Fire HDX and 50 percent savings on top toys from Matel and Fisher-Price.

Even some local businesses got in on the deal.

Sebring International Raceway offered a free general car parking pass with the purchase of two four-day supertickets.

Satori Custom, an Avon Park business, offered $10 off a $39.95 lacquered piano finish jewelry box. As part of the offer, Satori offered to put any photo on top of the box.

But for many Highlands County residents, Cyber Monday, which was designed to the be online equivalent of Black Friday, was of no interest on Monday.

Of more than two dozen people surveyed downtown and at Shelby Crossing, none said they had planned to shop online during Cyber Monday. Some said they preferred shopping at bricks and mortar businesses. Others said they had either done their online shopping or would possibly do some when they were ready.

Kathy Wilds, who commented about Cyber Monday on Facebook, indicated that she would shop online regardless of whether Cyber Monday existed.

"I would never do black Friday or even shop on Thanksgiving," she said. "It is too crazy out there. I don't think the deals are worth getting trampled on, shoved, or even shot. As long as I have a computer, I will shop online. Cyber Monday is just a perk."

Alisha Wingate, however, expected to find some deals on Cyber Monday.

"You get good deals on Cyber Monday and less craziness and in (the comfort of your home," she said on Facebook."

The National Retail Federation, a trade group, expected that many people like Wingate would take advantage of Cyber Monday. It is predicted that 131 million people would shop online, a 2 percent increase from last year, according to the Associated Press.

IBM predicted that online shopping would be a big part of holiday shopping, according to the Associated Press.

"We're expected to see strong gains as retailers roll out new promotions and make new products available on their websites," Jay Henderson, strategy director for IBM, told the Associated Press.

This year's Cyber Monday may have less significance because retailers have already rolled out online deals and would continue to do so.

While many shoppers would know that Wal-Mart and Amazon would have sales, small businesses like Satrio Custom had more of a challenge in getting the word out.

Laura Henderson, whose husband runs the business, said they have used Facebook to get the word out.

But online shopping is nowhere near replacing store shopping.

Lora Todd, owner of Dogtown USA in downtown Sebring, said she had a steady flow of customers during Small Business Saturday.


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