Black Friday could be taking a backseat to early sales, Thanksgiving deals and online shopping — but economists say though it’s morphing, Thanksgiving weekend will still be the busiest shopping time all year.
An estimated 164 million people are planning to shop or considering shopping during Thanksgiving weekend, according to the annual survey released Thursday by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. The numbers include Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Sunday and Cyber Monday.
Here’s what we know:
1. EARLY SHOPPERS About 56 percent of consumers have already started their holiday shopping. The holiday shopping season is vital to strong national, state and local economies because retail supports one in four jobs in Ohio. Ohio’s retail industry accounts for $26.5 billion of Ohio’s annual gross domestic product, according to the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants.
2. AVERAGE SPENDING Consumers say they will spend an average $967.13 this year, according to an annual survey conducted by the federation. The national federation projects that holiday retail sales in November and December will be up between 3.6 percent and 4 percent for a total between $678.8 billion and $682 billion.
3. ONLINE TAKES OVER Even online retailers tried to lure in consumers earlier. This is the first year that online shopping is expected to surpass brick-and-mortar sales, with 59 percent of consumers planning to spend online. Amazon decided to kicked off its Black Friday deals on Nov. 1, launching its “50 Days of Holiday Deals” campaign.
4. LOCAL MALLS PREP malls and shopping centers are still prepping for large shopping crowds. Steve Willshaw, the general manager of The Greene Town Center in Beavercreek, said the shopping center starts to see larger crowds the weekend before Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
“It stays busy after that,” he said. “No one is going to argue that online sales have become a part of the shopping experience but you can’t dine online, take a carriage ride or enjoy any of the other holiday festivities that are associated with this time of year at The Greene.”
5. BUSY WEEKEND While 115 million people still plan to shop on Black Friday, other days during the weekend are gaining traction. An estimated 78 million people will shop on Cyber Monday and 71 million will shop on Saturday to support small businesses.
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