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Wilfredo Lee / AP

Inexplicably, Cyber Monday is still a thing. And bigger than ever.

Flashback: The invented holiday began in 2005 as a way to cater to online shoppers who used their work computers to order holiday presents.

Our thought bubble: That made some sense in the era where not everyone had a PC at home and many were on dial-up connections. The need for a separate shopping day in an era of ubiquitous smartphones and improved broadband access is far less clear.

That's all the more true in a world where online pioneers like Amazon have physical stores and traditional retailers have Cyber Monday promotions via their online operations.

The numbers: Nonetheless, this year's Cyber Monday was shaping up to be the biggest ever, according to Adobe. The company expects it to be the biggest sales day in history, with an estimated $6.6 billion in spending, up nearly 17% from last year. Of that, smartphones will have accounted for more than $1.6 billion, Adobe estimates.

But, according to Loup Ventures' Gene Munster, many big brands cut down on the discounts they offered.

Go deeper

3 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.

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