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Black Friday predictions: How to score the best deals this year!

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Charis Rebecca Brown

So what’s going to happen during the holiday shopping season this year? Is Black Friday really the best day for holiday shopping with the best deals?

The answer? It depends.

Holiday shopping trends to change from last year

Last year, Thanksgiving and Black Friday had a bit of a slump, with $1.8 billion in sales on Thanksgiving 2015, down from $2 billion in 2014.

But the biggest loser last year was physical brick and mortar stores, with sales falling 10% over the previous year for both Thanksgiving and Black Friday, according to retailer research firm ShopperTrak.

The biggest winner? Online sales. The website Practical eCommerce reported that online sales on Thanksgiving were up 25% last year from the year before, while sales were up slightly over 14% on Black Friday, according to Adobe Digital Index. Another research firm, Custora, showed lower numbers, but still reported double digit increases.

With convenience being such a key benefit to shopping online, you can expect for the online shopping trends to continue, especially as more retailers offer more deals online for Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Speaking of which, sales for Cyber Monday also increased by 16% last year over the previous year.

This year, the National Retail Federation expects holiday sales overall to increase a “solid” 3.6% to $655.8 billion — compared to last year’s increase of 3%.

NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay commented, “It is clear that the age-old holiday tradition of heading out to stores with family and friends is now equally matched in the new tradition of looking online for holiday savings opportunities.”

Should stores be open on Thanksgiving?

Last year, stores were feeling the pressure to be open on Thanksgiving — not just early on Black Friday. But, there were some notable exceptions, such as the outdoor outfitter REI. REI made it clear fairly early that the store would not be open on Thanksgiving, and would also be closed on Black Friday — encouraging its customers to spend time outside and enjoy the company of friends and family.

This year, many stores seem to be following this trend of closing on Thanksgiving. Many people on the Clark.com Facebook pagethink this is a good idea, but others have some different perspectives.

Margaret on our Facebook page said, “(I) dislike any store that opens on Thanksgiving and won’t let their employees be off! Opening early on Black Friday is ok… Spending time with family & friends is the best gift of all.”

Conversely, Rebecca brings up a good point: “Some employees like earning time and a half….especially if they are far from loved ones and wouldn’t see them…”

The great thing about online shopping is you get the best of both worlds: The ability to shop on Thanksgiving if you prefer, while watching the bad football and eating turkey and pie — and no one has to actually go to work at a physical store for the transaction to occur.

For more information follow this link, clarkhoward.com

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