PITTSBURGH (KDKA) —  It may be Cyber Monday, but the holiday shopping rush is already underway.

In fact, online shopping has been going strong throughout the pandemic.

But Jeffrey Inman from the Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh says the importance of Cyber Monday has not been diminished.

“There’s a tradition of Cyber Monday being the day of the year to buy online, and well as a matter of fact, last year Cyber Monday 2019 was the biggest single day of online shopping ever and I’m predicting and tomorrow is going to be even bigger,” Inman said.

And Dr. Inman says the pandemic has had a major impact on the emergence of online shopping.

“Oh, I think without question that’s true. I think what the pandemic has done is basically accelerate consumer behavior ahead by five to 10 years over what it would have done eventually anyway. We’ve just had to drop everything or drop a lot of our in person shopping in stores and do it online. So I think, you know, the added convenience of shopping online a lot of people won’t go back after the pandemic even though at that point it is past us,” Inman said.

Dr. Inman believes that brick-and-mortar stores are in the best position to survive if they have an online component as many of the big box stores have developed.

But he worries about others, “Unfortunately, a potentially outsized impact on the smaller stores the Mom and Pop kind of retailing outlets.”

While clearly there are a lot of people hurting from the pandemic financially, those who have been able to continue working have been hunkering down and not spending.

So Dr. Inman expects those who have been sitting on their money will use the holiday as a relief valve from 2020 and spend even more than usual.