Black Friday sales could hit record $3 billion online in U.S.

Santa Claus celebrates at the unveiling of the Lord & Taylor holiday window display in New York earlier this month. Retail experts predict 74 percent of Americans will shop in person or online over the Thanksgiving weekend. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

NEW YORK, Nov. 25 (UPI) — Retail analysts predicted Black Friday sales would top $3 billion online in the United States for the first time as consumers increasingly relied on the Internet for holiday shopping.

Analysts at Adobe Insights told USA Today an examination of early online receipts between midnight and 8:30 a.m. Friday showed major retailers had already banked nearly $500 million. Continued high Internet traffic throughout the day led them to predict total sales would hit $3 billion, a Black Friday record.

That figure did not include the crush of in-person shopping Friday, with retailers offering doorbuster deals to lure shoppers off the couch and into stores.

The National Retail Federation reported 59 percent of Americans — 137.4 million people — said they were likely to shop in person or online at some point on Thanksgiving weekend, with Friday by far the likeliest day for shoppers looking to cash in on lucrative deals. The NRF’s annual Black Friday survey found 74 percent of Americans said they were likely to buy something at a store or online the day after Thanksgiving.

Though volume was light on Wall Street with several major traders dark on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, the S&P 500, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and the NASDAQ hit record highs after modest gains by late morning. Stocks continues their post-election rally with both the S&P and the Dow poised to close up more than 1 percent on the short holiday week.

Major retailers continued their trend of opening on Thanksgiving this year. JC Penney opened its doors at 3 p.m., and Macy’s opened at 5 p.m. Thursday. Walmart announced it would begin offering its “Cyber Monday” deals on Friday on its website after reports the nation’s largest retailer was significantly increasing its online stock as consumers continue migrating to the Internet for holiday shopping.

Overall, 22 percent of respondents told the NRF they planned to shop on Thanksgiving and 24 percent, more than half of those who said they plan to shop on Saturday, said they will do so specifically to support what’s become known as “Small Business Saturday” — an effort by locally owned shops to cash in on the post-Thanksgiving shopping spree.

Though Black Friday remains one of the busiest shopping days of the year, National Retail Federation President Matthew Shay said consumers are savvy enough to know not all the best deals happen at the beginning of the shopping season, and will save some of their budget for last-minute purchases.

“Black Friday remains one of the busiest shopping days of the year, with Americans planning to take advantage of aggressive in-store and digital promotions over the entire holiday weekend,” Shay said.

“Retailers know consumers are spreading out their holiday budgets to shop throughout the season. While there’s no doubt of the incredible promotions offered during the weekend, the holiday shopping season is long and consumers will look for and expect great deals down to the very last minute.”


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