Thanksgiving is killing Black Friday by replacing it

Black Friday is traditionally considered the kickoff to the holiday shopping season.

After all, it’s the Friday after Thanksgiving, when shoppers realise they need to get a move on their holiday shopping and stores offer big sales. Several have begun opening in the afternoon on Thanksgiving, known as “Black Friday creep.” That’s still happening this year, with many stores opening as early as in previous years – or earlier than ever before.

But now the proliferation of online shopping has blown the doors off Black Friday creep. Thanksgiving has replaced Black Friday as the kickoff to the holiday shopping season, at least online.

Advances in online-shopping technology and the proliferation of smartphones have led to a dramatic increase in sales on Thanksgiving this year.

Sales also started earlier – Walmart started its online deals at 10 p.m. on Wednesday, and Amazon had its own sales the entire week before.

For many online stores, the sales switch flipped at midnight on Wednesday.

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Shoppers are predicted to have spent a record $US3.7 billion on Thanksgiving once the official tally is in, according to Adobe Analytics. That would be up a whopping 29% over last year, a far larger increase than the year-over-year growth expected for Black Friday (17.2%) and Cyber Monday (17.6%).

Much of the growth has come from sales made on smartphones, which shoppers are using with increasing frequency, especially on Thanksgiving, according to Adobe. This year, they have accounted for 36.7% of all sales by revenue, up substantially over the 29.1% share last year.

Online doorbusters with steep discounts are by nature limited in stock. With the deals starting so much earlier than Black Friday, many items that stores were hyping up were out of stock a full day before.

It’s clearer than ever that Thanksgiving, not Black Friday, is the official kickoff to the holiday shopping season in the minds of consumers and retailers.

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