While many people lined up outside major retail stores on Thursday before they digested their turkey dinner, others preferred to skip the craziness of Black Friday deals and shop online on Cyber Monday. 

But because sales started earlier and are lasting longer this holiday season, it is expected that fewer people are shopping on this Cyber Monday.

Compared to last year, there were less people shopping in both physical and virtual stores this Thanksgiving weekend. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), the total amount of spending this holiday weekend was down from $57.4 billion estimated last year to $50.9 billion this year. 

And this trend is likely to continue during Cyber Monday. According to the NRF, only 127 million people are expected to shop today compared to the 131 million who shopped last Cyber Monday. 

"Shoppers have changed the way they view exclusive deals," NRF CEO Matthew Shay says. "They have this expectation that it's going to be there all the time."

Not only did Black Friday deals start earlier this year, but many stores also offered deals online as well this weekend. "Every day is going to be Black Friday, every minute is going to be Cyber Monday," Shay says. 

Old Navy, which offered 50 percent off all items in-store and online Friday and Saturday, will expand its Cyber Monday deals to last for longer than just today. Target, Walmart, J.C. Penny, Kohl's and even Staples will also have Cyber Monday deals that last a few days. 

"(Retailers) can't let up for an instant because of the competitive nature of what's happening out there," he added.

Walmart, which banked on Cyber Monday last year, increased its online deals this year which include sales on same-day pickup and evening sales for people shopping after work. 

And while online shopping may be down this Cyber Monday,  IBM Smarter Commerce expects it to still be the peak online shopping day of the entire year. 

Some retailers broke records when it came to online shopping, thanks to the amount of people who started their Christmas shopping on Thanksgiving. Target had a 40 percent increase in online sales this Thanksgiving and Walmart had increased traffic on its site from Thanksgiving on Thursday through Sunday.

Many shoppers took to their smartphones to snag sales this year, as mobile phones and tablets made up over half of online traffic on Thanksgiving. However, people are more likely to shop from desktops Cyber Monday once they are back at work. 

[Photo Credit: tshein/ Flickr] 

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