You wouldn’t put items in your shopping cart at the store without planning on buying them, right? But online, it’s a whole other story.
Forget dessert. Millions of Americans are abandoning the Thanksgiving dinner table to head to the mall.
While in years past, shoppers had to line up before dawn on Black Friday to get first dibs on holiday deals, a number of retailers are now flinging their doors open before the dishes have been cleared from the holiday feast. And many are more than willing to skip football to shop until they drop.
Of the more than 164 million planning to shop over the Thanksgiving weekend, 21 percent, or 34 million, say they intend to shop on Thanksgiving Day, according to the National Retail Federation, an industry trade group.
Discount seekers who don’t feel like braving the cold don’t have to leave the house at all; they can shop for sales by clicking on a keyboard. Consultancy PwC forecasts that over 70 percent of shoppers plan to start ticking off their holiday lists on Thanksgiving Dayand 55 percent are expected to shop online, up from 45 percent last year.
The software company Adobe Analytics is projecting Thanksgiving online sales will set a new record of $3.5 billion, up from the $2.9 billion in 2017. As of 10 a.m. ET, shoppers spent $406 million, 23.2 percent above last year’s tally.
While the Thanksgiving weekend officially kicks off the holiday shopping season, Walmart, Amazon and J.C. Penney are among the retailers who began rolling out deals days or even weeks earlier in the race to win shoppers.
Retail spending this holiday season is expected to rise between 4.3 and 4.8 percent as compared to 2017, totaling roughly $717 to $721 billion, according to the National Retail Federation.
Roughly 20 customers trickled into the Cabela’s in Gainesville, Virginia, early Thursday morning as “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” played lightly in the background. The outdoors gear and hunting store opened its doors at 8 a.m. nationwide on Thanksgiving, promising customers deals for holiday shopping.
However, as with many other stores, Cabela’s is saving its heaviest artillery for Black Friday. At the Northern Virginia location, a whole section in the middle of the store is covered by plastic wrap, with signs that say “Just like Mom said, No Peeking! See you Friday 11/23 @ 5:00am.”
The Kmart in nearby Springfield, Virginia, has about 40 customers walking the aisle. The 10- to 50-percent-off sale wasn’t Thanksgiving-related; the store is one of the 142 Sears and Kmart locations slated to close, parent company Sears Holdings announced when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month.
“I like coming here while my turkey is at home cooking,” said local Betty Summerlin, 50, who works in banking.
Things had picked up by late morning in New York City. Outside Lord & Taylor on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, Janna Holly, 21, outlined her battle plan.
“We normally wait until Black Friday to shop for the Christmas gifts. This year, I plan on going to Macy’s, Forever 21 and Sephora,” said the college student from Austin, Texas. “My holiday budget should not be that much, because I have to pay for tuition, but I’ll probably do a lot of shopping anyway.”
Marlina Kozdra of West Orange, N.J., came to New York City to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with her family, but then went hunting for deals.
“Shopping on Thanksgiving is fine as long as you get to do it with your family,” the 34-year-old stay-at-home mom said.
USA Today’s Dalvin Brown and Ben Tobin contributed to this report.
For gift ideas and dates on deals, check out gifts.usatoday.com.
You’ve saved up a little money, you have your credit card ready to swipe away and willing to digest the turkey dinner while waiting outside your local Best Buy to snatch some Black Friday deals. Susana Victoria Perez has more.
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