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Cyber Monday Poised For Record Breaking Shopping

Cyber Monday is poised for another record-breaking online shopping day. While online sales passed the $1 billion mark on Black Friday, one retail analysis group is predicting Cyber Monday sales could meet and even surpass $1.5 billion.

According to data released Sunday from analyst firm comScore Inc., Cyber Monday spending is expected to exceed the $1.25 billion posted in 2011.

57.3 million Americans visited an online retail site this year on Black Friday. That number was up 18% from 2011, with most online shoppers using Amazon.com as their main destination. Today the Seattle-based online retailer rolled out huge Cyber Monday savings on everything from electronics ($100 Sony laptops) to lawn mowers -- a huge incentive for shoppers avoiding multiple parking lots and lines.

“With Thanksgiving now behind us and most consumers returning to work [Monday], we can look forward with anticipation to Cyber Monday, which according to norms we’ve observed over the past three years should be the heaviest online shopping day of the season with sales approaching $1.5 billion or even higher,” said Gian Fulgoni, comScore chairman, in a statement.

Overall, holiday shopping online is faring better than it did a year ago.

Throughout the month of November, online spending has brought in more than $13.7 billion, a 16% increase over 2011 figures, when $11.8 billion was spent. Online spending on Thanksgiving Day was up 32% from last year as well. The National Retail Federation expects 123 million shoppers to purchase products on Cyber Monday -- almost 40 million more than Black Friday (89 million).

While many people pack stores to shop on Black Friday, others opt to stay away from that madness and shop from their homes or offices online on what's come to be known as "Cyber Monday," the Monday after Thanksgiving. The NRF coined the term in 2005 when the federation noticed a significant spike in online retail sales the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Despite the potential risks of shopping online, the recession and still-high gas prices continue to push Cyber Monday and online shopping through significant growth annually. Careful online research and identity theft-prevention are crucial during the holiday gift-shopping season, according to the Better Business Bureau.

"Scammers are waiting," said David Polino, Better Business Bureau president. "While the online environment has become a trusted marketplace, e-commerce has also opened a door and created a ripe environment for scam artists to set up shop online and start ripping people off."

The BBB urges online shoppers to only deal with reputable companies (the large brick-and-mortar stores, Amazon.com) – they’re discounts on Cyber Monday and beyond will be legitimate. For email blasts and discounts, sign up with them only and not a third-party web site promising to aggregate "best-of" deals, according to the BBB.