CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- In 2012, American consumers spent a record $1.5 billion shopping online on the Monday after Thanksgiving. That number is expected to rise this year, even though several states -- including West Virginia -- have recently passed laws applying sales tax to online purchases.
The Monday after Thanksgiving, the so-called "Cyber Monday," has been the biggest e-commerce shopping day of the year every year since 2010, according to research from comScore, Inc., an industry analyst. Sales have nearly tripled since 2005, rising every year.
In the spring, West Virginia passed a law that requires any online retailer with a physical presence in the state -- a store, a warehouse or an office -- to collect the state's 6 percent sales tax.
The law, which was pushed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, passed the state Senate unanimously. It passed the House of Delegates by a vote of 77-19 with exclusively Republican opposition.
That law does not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2014, but Amazon.com, the world's largest online retailer, has already begun collecting the tax. Amazon has a 70,000-square-foot service center in Huntington, which is why it falls under the auspices of the new law.
West Virginia is one of 16 states in which Amazon currently collects sales tax. It will begin collecting tax in three more states in 2014.
Despite the added cost to consumers, Amazon is predicting its busiest Cyber Monday ever.
"We expect this holiday season to be our best ever," said Ty Rogers, an Amazon spokesman. "On our peak day last year, Nov. 26 (Cyber Monday), Amazon customers ordered more than 26.5 million items worldwide across al product categories, which is a record-breaking 306 items per second."
Amazon has long supported federal legislation regarding online sales tax, preferring it for logistical reasons to the state-by-state approach.
Steve Roberts, president of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, said they supported the sales tax legislation in the spring and he doesn't think it will have much of an impact on either e-retailers or traditional businesses in the state.