Black Friday, Cyber Monday are still prime shopping days despite early deals
Kmart, Sears, Walmart and Amazon are already starting to tout their holiday deals. But online shoppers may bide their time before buying.
The long weekend stretching from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday will be the online retailers' busiest time of the holiday shopping season. Those five days are predicted to account for $1-in-every-$5.5 retailers reap via tablet, smartphone or computer, according to a new forecast from software maker Adobe, which analyzes retail and other industries.
That's despite retailers offering discounts as soon as early November to capture cost-conscious consumers who can now compare prices with the click of a button.
More: Walmart to host holiday parties at stores as battle with Amazon ramps up this season
More: Target rolls out new deals, including 'Fixer Upper' line, free shipping and GiftNow button
More: The best Black Friday deals you can get right now
Amazon said Wednesday that its Black Friday Deals Store was open for business. That same day, Sears and Kmart launched a nearly month-long sale for their loyalty members. Sears shoppers will get discounts ranging from 10% to 50%, and Kmart shoppers will see sales of 10% to 40% on all items through Nov. 25, in what they're dubbing their "holiday blowout.''
Walmart will start rolling out its thousands of seasonal deals this weekend, and Target will have special weekend offers, beginning Nov. 11 and extending through December.
But Adobe predicts that while online sales will hit $107.4 billion in November and December — a 13.8% increase over that two-month stretch last year — shoppers will spend $19.7 billion over Thanksgiving weekend alone. And that makes sense because that's when they will find the best bargains.
"Everyone knows that the lowest-priced day is really going to be between Black Friday and Cyber Monday,'' Tamara Gaffney, Adobe's strategic insights engagement group director, says. So while consumers are "seeing the pre-Black Friday (sales) ... online we're definitely not seeing the growth in the first couple of weeks of November.''
Online shoppers wanting the best deals on TV's, jewelry, tablets and appliances might want to wait until Black Friday, when Adobe expects retailers to offer the steepest discounts. Cyber Monday, meanwhile, is predicted to feature the season's biggest price drops on toys. And shoppers who hop online in between courses on Thanksgiving Day should find the best bargains on computers, video games, sporting goods, tools and clothing, Adobe says.
For the past three years, the Saturday before Christmas has surpassed Black Friday as the busiest shopping day of the year. And in-store sales on Black Friday have been dropping, with sales slipping 1.6% in 2015 as compared to the year before, and 14.1% in 2014 from the previous year, according to analytics firm RetailNext.
But Black Friday sales have been surging online, with a 16.4% spike, to $5 billion, expected this season, Adobe says.
Still, that's no match for Cyber Monday, which this year is expected to be the most lucrative online shopping day ever, with $6.6 billion in sales — a 16.5% jump over 2016.