NEW YORK—This year there will be no rest for the holiday shopping weary.
As part of the growing trend to start holiday sales earlier, Walmart has announced that they will begin their Cyber Monday sales the Sunday night of Thanksgiving weekend. The first round of deals will begin at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, Nov. 29 and is part of a “Cyber Week” that starts on Saturday, Nov. 28 and runs throughout the week until Dec. 4.
“When Cyber Monday was originated many, many years ago people didn’t have access to the high-speed Internet at their homes or easy access (to it),” Fernando Madeira, President and CEO of Walmart.com tells USA TODAY.
“Now that the Internet is everywhere with smartphones and broadband connections… it doesn’t make any sense to stay awake just to have access to the early, best special deals during Cyber Monday,” he said. “That’s why we decided to start earlier this year on Sunday.”
The early start was also influenced in large part by the rise in search terms for “Cyber Monday” on Sunday afternoon and early Sunday evening, Madeira says.
While Walmart is being coy with what shoppers can expect in the sales event, some early notable deals include a 48-inch Samsung 4K TV for $598, an Xbox One with an additional wired controller for $299.96, a 65-inch LG 4K TV for $799 and a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablet for $599. Walmart says more deals will be unveiled as Cyber Monday approaches.
As is traditional Walmart practice, customers are able to ship orders to a store for free pickup but shipping directly to a customer’s home will require orders to be a minimum of $50.
Madeira notes that Walmart has been paying attention to customer searches on the site over the last few weeks to gauge what products will be most popular on Cyber Monday and is planning to offer deals on several of the hottest categories including 4K TVs, 3D printers, Fitbits, drones and toys and products related to Star Wars.
Compared to last year, the company plans to offer three times the number of Star Wars toys, three times as many 4K TVs, 15 times more drones, and 350% more 3D printers and accessories.
Cyber Monday is expected to be part of a busy holiday season for Walmart.com, particularly from shoppers using their phones to shop online. This year, the company is expecting 75% of its online traffic to come from mobile devices, either through the company’s app or through a visit from a mobile web browser. Walmart expects 210 million visitors to its site from the app alone in November and December, a stark increase from the 18 million shoppers who shopped in the app just two years ago.
Madeira is confident the site is ready for the impending storm. “We are ready to go, ready for the customers.”
Follow Eli Blumenthal on Twitter @eliblumenthal
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