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How Will This Year's Cyber Monday Do Amid Trade Threats?

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With online shopping burgeoning year after year, Cyber Monday has already replaced Black Friday as the biggest shopping event in the United States.Last year, Cyber Monday recorded $7.9 billion in sales, up 20% year over year and way more than Black Friday’s $6.2 billion. The trend is likely to continue this year even though the fear of trade war’s impact on sales lingers.

Forecasts Hint at Record Sales

Per Adobe Analytics, this year’s Cyber Monday sales are expected to rise 18.9% year over year to $9.4 billion, making it the largest and fastest growing online shopping day of the year. Online sales are likely to touch $143.7 billion, up 14.1% year over year.

Deloitte also estimates a 14-18% rise in e-commerce sales this holiday season to reach $144 to $149 billion. This compares with last year’s $126.4-billion sales, which grew 11.2% year over year. This year, most of the purchases are expected to be made via mobile devices, according to market watcher App Annie.

Trade War Doesn’t Seem to be an Issue

Consumers will hardly bear the brunt of price increases owing to tariffs. According to the National Retail Federation, retailers have been stocking up since last year to get past the higher tariffs.

Further, this year’s holiday season deals are coming in earlier as retailers look to make up for the potential revenue loss from the shortened period between Black Friday and Christmas. This year, Black Friday falls nearly a week later than it did in 2018.

Economic Indicators Look Encouraging

Consumers continue to look at convenience factors such as low prices, free shipping and product availability. Economic indicators like strong job data and record-low unemployment rate are encouraging shoppers to splurge online. Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 128,000 in October and unemployment rate remained at 3.6%.

Although consumer confidence took a hit in November (125.5, lagging the previous month’s revised reading of 126.1), the number did not disappoint.The Present Situation Index, which gauges consumers’ views on current market conditions, fell from 173.5 to 166.9, a result of the lingering trade conflict. Butthe Expectations Index of November, which is a measure of consumers’ short-term (for the next six months) outlook for income, business and labor market conditions, increased to 97.9 from 94.5 in October.

4 Stocks to Make the Most of the Online Rush

Amazon’s (AMZN - Free Report) share of online holiday sales has increased steadily over the years. Netelixir expects Amazon to capture more than 44% of the total online sales this holiday season, up from last year’s 40%. Year to date, this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company has gained 21%.

Both Walmart (WMT - Free Report) and Target (TGT - Free Report) stand to benefit from their click-and-collect models, especially during the holiday season. This model not only eliminates chances of delayed deliveries but also helps companies save up on shipping costs.

Walmart and Target are known to offer great bargains during this season, easing customer concerns about elevated tariff-related pricing. Walmart also offers hundreds and thousands of its items under the one-day shipping category. Target and Walmart carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), respectively. Their shares have gained a respective 96.5% and 29.5% year to date. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Meanwhile, Best Buy (BBY - Free Report) , with its deep discount offers, should remain a favorite for gadget lovers. The company has offered some of the best deals on laptops. Best Buy carries a Zacks Rank #3 and its shares have rallied 55.9% year to date.

The chart below shows year-to-date price performance of these four companies.

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