by Michelle Franzen
NEW YORK (NBC) - On this "Cyber Monday", retailers are being cautiously optimistic following the first weekend of the holiday shopping season.
Overall, Black Friday sales were up a half a percent from last year, but totals from the overall weekend show shoppers spent less on average than last year.
The bright spot retailers are focusing more on this year online sales and shopping. Cyber Monday, it is a day when virtual reality stores come to life. An estimated one in three Americans is expected to shop with a click of a mouse Monday.
And just like Black Friday door busters, online retailers are offering screen buster deals and free shipping to make the sale.
"90% of online retailers are offering special promotions just for this day for consumers," said National Retail Federation's Scott Krugman.
That is because online shopping is the place retailers see the most potential for holiday sales. This year alone, online sales are expected to jump eight percent.
"People don't want to fight the crowds and love the 24-7 convenience of the internet. So, what retailers are doing is really trying to do a better job of integrating their stores and their web sites so that people can shop in whatever manner they choose," said Ellen Davis of the National Retail Federation.
At an Amazon distribution center in Phoenix, workers cheered and geared up for a busy season of shipping
"Cyber Monday is a busy busy day, I mean it rivals Black Friday," said Amazon's Craig Berman.
But this year, Cyber Monday started early. eBay kicked off 12 days of deals the day after Thanksgiving. Wal-Mart and Amazon.com are competing with online price wars. Proof, analysts say the online shopping day has evolved from the original shop at work Monday.
"Cyber Monday has become a little bit of a myth. It really originated when people didn't have the same access to high-speed internet at home that they do today, said Scott Erickson of consulting and accounting firm, Deloitte.
Shoppers have also changed. They are making lists, sticking to budgets and willing to search and wait for a lower price, which means this shopping season will likely be a marathon not a sprint to the finish.