Deep discounts, free shipping on Cyber Monday

PASADENA, Calif. For those who want to avoid the headaches of in-store holiday shopping, pulling up a chair and logging on seems to be the answer.

"Oh I hate crowds. I'm the type of person that would rather be out there windsurfing than fighting teenage girls who are going for that latest Twilight poster," said online shopper Al De Veyra, with a laugh.

About 96 million people are expected to shop online on Monday.

Online sales over the holiday weekend were up 11 percent due to early promotions from online retailers. Discounts are only expected to increase via shipping savings because retailers will likely not charge for shipping on Cyber Monday.

"I think you can get better prices online and organize your shopping better, not get carried away," said online shopper Sara Kelley

Sales the day after Thanksgiving were up slightly over last year's sales, and it is expected that Cyber Monday sales will outdo last year's numbers as well.

To save big, consumers need to shop smart, and using a cell phone may be one way to find those deep discounts.

"There are apps that will turn your camera into a barcode scanner," said Rick Broida of Cheapskate blog on CNET.

The phone will scan the barcode and immediately return information on pricing from a number of online stores, Broida said.

Comparison Web sites like also help shoppers determine the best deals. You just type in the product you're looking for, and the Web site will tell you which stores are carrying it and how much they are charging.

Economic worries about jobs were still apparent as shoppers mostly stuck to their lists and focused on practical items for themselves and for their loved ones. The big worry is that consumers may not return until the final hours before Dec. 25.

According to preliminary figures released Saturday by ShopperTrak, a research firm that tracks more than 50,000 outlets, sales rose 0.5 percent to $10.66 billion Friday, compared with a year ago. That was on top of a 3 percent increase last year.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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