Cyber Monday — the Monday after Thanksgiving — is typically the busiest online shopping day of the year.
And while predictions can be a funny thing, for these two months of November and December 2018, the National Retail Federation is forecasting that U.S. holiday retail sales, including online, will increase between 4.3 percent and 4.8 percent over 2017 — for a total of $717.45 billion to $720.89 billion.
That compares with an average annual increase of 3.9 percent over the past five years, as Reuters has noted.
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This past Friday — or Black Friday, as the day after Thanksgiving is traditionally known — online sales jumped more than 23 percent, crossing $6 billion.
As for online sales, they surpassed $3.7 billion on Thanksgiving itself, according to Adobe Analytics.
The biggest discounts today are expected to be for toys, the same firm noted.
“Lots of good deals to be had,” said the cheerful folks at the “Today” show on Monday morning.
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) November 26, 2018
Many retailers have deals and steals of all kinds today as people shop in earnest for family, friends and other loved ones for the holiday season.
Best Buy, Costco, J.C. Penney, Kohl’s, Walmart, Lowe’s, Macy’s, Sam’s Club, Target and many more are offering all kinds of discounts for shoppers.
Walmart — just to pick one from among that group — is offering discounts on electronics, toys, sporting goods, clothing and accessories, home improvement, crafts and hobbies, and many other categories of goods, to name a few.
And when it comes to decorating for the Christmas season, local tree farmers are welcoming millennial consumers this year with open arms — as young people often pursue the perfect snapshot of themselves and their loved ones as they pick out or cut down their own fresh emblem of Christmas.
When they post those happy pictures to social media, that makes for some great (and free) advertising.
Christmas tree sales usually ramp up on Black Friday and sell for an average of $77 each, data show.
The average prices are said to increase on Cyber Monday to about $81.
Although the kids will most likely not approve of this buy, in the week leading up to Christmas, there is a predicted 22 percent decrease in price — while the price of trees on Christmas Eve is said to reach an all-time low at around $47.
Many people, of course, want little or nothing to do with all the hyped-up shopping activity and holiday stress — and they make sure to find a way to stay healthy, happy and reasonable at this time of year.
“These times can be incredibly demanding and stressful, but also fun. If you prepare now, you can ease the tensions this time of year can bring,” wrote Luis Congdon for LifeZette last year at this time.
“In my experience, the holidays wear me out. Sure, I love the family time and the celebrations, but there’s stress, too. Time with my extended family and so many other people in my life — all of these celebrations pull me this way, that way, and can stretch me thin. Shopping, travel, family gatherings, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve — if you’re not ready for all of this, it can eat you alive.”
“Most Americans feel pressured beyond their financial means and feel this pestering sense that they have to spend more, do more than they really can during the holidays … The demand to spend money, go shopping, celebrate, travel to see everyone and appease all the people in our lives during the holidays — all of this can wreak havoc on what is supposed to be a time of celebration,” he said.
That’s why he and others recommend purposely creating a mindset and a plan for this time of year. “Communication and set goals will make riding this wave a lot easier. This is especially true for those of us who are married, have kids, and have mixed families where children travel between parents or guardians. All of this can intensify the experience of the holidays, the demands, and a sense of equilibrium.”
And check out this video about how to avoid holiday stress — now and through the entire month of December: