After years of being more hype than highlight, Cyber Monday appears on its way to its biggest outing ever.

Last year, the Monday after Thanksgiving saw an estimated $1 billion spent online in the United States, making it the biggest e-sales day ever. And analysts said Monday that this year’s “holiday” — the online answer to the annual Black Friday bargain rush on stores — is on pace to be bigger still.

As of 3 p.m. ET, online sales were up 15% from last year, according to IBM Benchmark (formerly Coremetrics).

The analytics group, which monitors sales on more than 500 online retail sites, has been reporting Cyber Monday sales for the past four years.

As a marketing term, “Cyber Monday” was coined in 2005. But, according to IBM and others, it wasn’t until 2009 when the Internet saw more sales that day than on Black Friday. And last November was the first in which Black Friday actually ended up being the biggest online shopping day of the year.

“We at comScore have spent a lot of time in past holiday seasons dispelling the notion that Cyber Monday was the heaviest online spending day of the year,” said Andrew Lipsman of the Web analytics firm on its blog. “And just when it seemed that message finally began to sink in, Cyber Monday has a banner year and jumps to the top of the ranking. ”


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