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© Reuters. A woman takes part in a rally against Amazon and their business practices in the Manhattan borough of New York City © Reuters. A woman takes part in a rally against Amazon and their business practices in the Manhattan borough of New York City

By Aishwarya Venugopal

(Reuters) - Cyber Monday sales were on course to bring in a record $9.4 billion, according to early estimates, building on a bumper Black Friday weekend for retailers driven by earlier-than-usual promotions and free shipping.

Shoppers have already had nearly a month of special offers and deals as retailers look to draw out their vital holiday season, which is six days shorter this year due to a late Thanksgiving.

Estimates from Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE) Analytics on Monday predicted that some $72.1 billion has been spent online in the past month, with Cyber Monday - now traditionally the U.S. economy's biggest internet shopping day - logging $473 million as of 9 a.m. ET.

Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) and other traditional retailers such as Target Corp (NYSE:TGT) and Walmart (NYSE:WMT) have beefed up delivery services to fulfill online orders faster as more customers shop on their mobile phones and tablets at home.

"At the end of the day, Cyber Monday is just Black Friday revisited so the momentum, and the deals, really started last week," said Carol Spieckerman president at consultancy Spieckerman Retail.

"Retailers' click and collect capabilities are running more efficiently, online shopping is more intuitive ... Amazon isn't the only one wearing the convenience crown this year."

PENTHOUSE PROTEST

It may not all be smooth sailing for the world's biggest online retailer. Amazon warehouse workers, community groups, unions and elected officials, were set to march outside company chief Jeff Bezos' Fifth Avenue penthouse, citing poor treatment of workers and rising climate emissions from the company's push for speedier deliveries.

Activists also staged protests across France on Friday and tried to blockade a shopping mall in Paris, denouncing the spread of Black Friday to European shores.

Target and Walmart have also taken aim at the company this year by making free shipping or same-day in-store pickups widely available. Commentators say those sorts of deals have proven a success over the past month.

The National Retail Federation estimates nearly 69 million Americans will scour the web on Monday for deals on everything from mobile phones to kitchenware, with Adobe estimating the biggest discounts were on televisions and computers.

Topping Adobe's list of most popular products were Frozen 2 and Paw Patrol toys, L.O.L surprise dolls and Nintendo's Switch mobile console.

"#CyberMonday2019 The day of the year 85% of the U.S. population pretends to actually be working," tweeted Erika Mayor, a user in Miami.

For interactive graphic, click link: https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/editorcharts/USA-HOLIDAYSHOPPING-CYBERMONDAY/0H001QXN09QY/index.html


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