"The online community is getting more competitive as the amount of new customers slows," according to Scott Silverman, executive director of Shop.org, an online arm of the National Retail Federation. "Add to that the concerns about the economy, and promotions and sales provide a great way to get people excited."
Silverman said the number of retailers offering free shipping with no conditions, such as a minimum purchase, has jumped to 41.4 percent from 36 percent last year.
Nearly one-third of retailers are also having special one-day sales for Cyber Monday. Forty-two percent plan some kind of promotion, according to the NRF's annual survey.
In fact, the number of retailers hosting online deals on the Monday after Thanksgiving has surged to 72 percent of those polled from 42 percent just two years ago.
Despite a decent showing, many shoppers interviewed said they planned to curb their spending. Earl Lee, a mechanic from Live Oak, Fla., who was shopping in Tallahassee, said that he was planning on spending less this holiday season.
"Gas prices, everything's so high," he added.
John Muller, of Clifton, N.J., who was standing outside Macy's Herald Square in Manhattan on Sunday, said he plans to spend only about $500 this year, half as much as a year ago, because of higher expenses and worries about the economy.
This year, "we are mostly buying for the kids," said Muller, who has two children, ages 3 and 7.