TODAY   |  November 26, 2012

Cyber Monday sales expected to set record

Experts say online sales are expected to rise by 12 percent as millions of Americans hunt for holiday gift deals during the biggest Web shopping day of the year. NBC's Diana Alvear reports from an Amazon fulfillment center in Phoenix, Ariz.

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>>> let us start with the big story , cyber monday. diana alvear is at ground zero for action at the fulfillment center in phoenix. diana , good morning to you.

>> reporter: matt, good morning. you can definitely feel that cyber monday is in full effect here at amazon. it is their biggest day of the year and a huge one for all retailers. this year experts estimate online sales will rise 12% thanks to a growing number of so-called couch consumers. far from the maddening crowds . kick bicknell fills her cart with a click.

>> i'm a definite 100% online shopper.

>> across the country jennifer swinford does the same.

>> i don't have to worry about lines. i don't have to worry about people being irritable, waiting forever to see if a product is still in stock.

>> reporter: both took advantage of black friday deals, but they are waiting to see what cyber monday holds, a process made much easier with smartphones and other devices and custom-made apps by major retailers.

>> i love the apps for ebay, amazon, papaypal, whatever store i need to shop at i do it that way.

>> reporter: today on cyber monday more than 20 million shoppers are expected to do it that way as well, up 14% over last year. they no longer have to wait till work on monday morning which is why experts say the boundaries between black friday and cyber monday have blurred.

>> it's almost morphed into a five-day holiday shopping period.

>> reporter: this retail expert say stores stagger their deals to keep consumers coming back. some retailers like sears after online-only deals and encourage shoppers to pick those items up in the store to avoid shipping fees.

>> if you pick it up in the store, you'll buy something else.

>> reporter: for many online shoppers, convenience is king. their top destination so far, online giant, booming sales required bringing in 50,000 seasonal workers.

>> it is a day that rivals black friday, for sure. last year cyber monday was our busiest day of the year. customers ordered 17 million items, 204 items persecond.

>> reporter: at their largest fulfillment center in phoenix, arizona, workers say you can feel the holiday rush.

>> definitely more picks, more orders are coming in, more numbers definitely. more energy.

>> reporter: and you're look at the inbound floor of the largest of 40 fulfillment centers that amazon has across the country. when i say big, this place is big, 28 football fields, the equivalent of, and i saw a lot of people around here riding tricycles to get around and somewhere is my brother's christmas gift. hopefully he's not watching.

>> diana , thanks very much. five