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U.S. Shoppers Might Spend $13 Million Per Minute During Cyber Monday Peak

People shop at Macy's in New York on Black Friday, Nov. 27.
Kena Betancur
AFP via Getty Images
People shop at Macy's in New York on Black Friday, Nov. 27.

U.S. shoppers are on track to spend more than $755 billion during the holiday shopping season in what's expected to be a new sales record despite the coronavirus recession.

In fact, this year's Cyber Monday promises to become the largest online sales day in history. During the peak hour of 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Pacific time, shoppers could spend $13 million per minute, according to Adobe Digital Insights, which tracks online spending.

Health officials have recommended against spending time in crowded stores as coronavirus cases surge yet again across the U.S., with tens of thousands of people hospitalized.

But shoppers say they are drawn by discounts — and by the desire to celebrate and feel special.

Over the weekend, top online purchases included Star Wars, Nerf and Paw Patrol toys, Apple AirPods and Watches and various video games, according to Adobe. Other hot items included air fryers, Lego sets and lounge clothes. Adobe also says sales of chess-related items tripled this month thanks to the Netflix sensation The Queen's Gambit.

The National Retail Federation finally released its delayed holiday shopping forecast last week, predicting that retail sales will grow between 3.6% and 5.2% to their highest level ever. The trade group says shoppers will spendon average $998 on gifts, food, decorations and other holiday items.

Online stores are by far the winners of this shopping spree. And the season is seeing a huge growth in popularity of curbside pickup, with shoppers driving up to stores but avoiding indoor public spaces.

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Alina Selyukh is a business correspondent at NPR, where she follows the path of the retail and tech industries, tracking how America's biggest companies are influencing the way we spend our time, money, and energy.