A new survey has found that more customers are opting to shop from the comfort of their homes this Thanksgiving weekend, forgoing the chaos of Black Friday for the ease of Cyber Monday deals.
But web shoppers beware: For the first time, residents in California, Texas and Pennsylvania will be automatically charged state sales tax at the checkout on Amazon and other online stores.
And next year, they will be joined by shoppers in Virginia and New Jersey, and by January 2014, those in Nevada, Indiana and Tennessee.
What comes as bad news for shoppers comes as good news for Amazon’s competitors, who have expressed their relief at finally “leveling the playing field” with the e-commerce giant, which earned a staggering $17.45 billion in the holiday quarter last year.
Other stores have claimed that Amazon’s success is partly due to the fact it can undercut them by avoiding sales tax, which is as high as 9% in some states.
The changes are coming into play after individual states have passed legislation on online sales tax after Congress has failed to pass a national law. Chains including Wal-Mart and Target have been lobbying the bills, Politico reported.
“Now for a sizeable chunk of the U.S. population, Amazon is playing by the same rules as the rest of the retailers,” Jason Brewer, a spokesman for the Retail Industry Leaders Association, told the site.
“There are going to be fewer people who shop online solely for the sales tax benefit.”
But Amazon maintains that it expects this holiday season to be its most successful yet.
“As analysts have noted, we offer customers the best prices with or without sales tax,” said Scott Stanzel, an Amazon spokesman.
“We collect sales tax or its equivalent in more than half of the areas where we do business and we are pleased to say we are thriving in those geographies because Amazon offers low prices, vast selection and fast delivery.”
Residents in California, Texas and Pennsylvania will be automatically charged state sales tax at the checkout on Amazon and other online stores
Yet some retailers said they are already noticing a difference in states were Amazon is collecting sales tax.
Best Buy has seen a four to six per cent increase in sales in California, Texas and Pennsylvania compared to the rest of the chain, Amy Von Walter, a spokesperson at Best Buy, told Politico.
“These are encouraging data points,” she said.
“It lends itself to the idea that a level playing field is good for business.”
Online sales during Cyber Monday last year reached $1.25 billion, up 22% from the previous year, according to ComScore. This year, the data firm expects $1.5 billion in sales that day.
Despite changes to sales tax, research has shown that more people are shunning the mania of Black Friday to shop from their homes on Cyber Monday.
A survey by shopping comparison site PriceGrabber.com revealed that almost half of all Thanksgiving weekend shoppers will shop online on Monday – and more than half of these said they would shop more online than at shops on Black Friday.
Of the 5,000 people surveyed, 41% of people said they would shop on Cyber Monday – up from the 37% in 2011, and 33% in 2010, Fox News reported.
Eighty-four per cent of Cyber Monday shoppers said they wanted to take advantage of one-day deals, discounts and free-shipping offers.
A third of shoppers said they would be shopping on Monday after scouting for deals over the weekend.
But although the interest in online shopping is growing, the total sales will still not come close to those in shops on Black Friday. Stores are expected to take as much as $11.4 billion.
Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, was created in 2005 as an online alternative to Black Friday.
This year, as Black Friday begins earlier than ever – with retail giants nudging their opening times into Thanksgiving – e-commerce departments are doing the same.
Walmart emailed customers this week to reveal that its Cyber Monday sale will start this Saturday and last until Sunday, December 2, 2012 for deals on toys, electronics and video games.
Target, Best Buy and Amazon also announced they would have tech deals starting on Black Friday.
Amazon is also offering special Sunday deals – so that bargain hunters don’t have to click from their work computers come Monday – on golf equipment, clothing, lamps, books, clothes and cameras.
Millions of bargain-hungry shoppers are set to scour shops for deals on Thanksgiving as an increasing number of stores across the country throw open their doors a day early.
Some of the nation’s largest chains, including Toys R Us and Target, have nudged their opening times into Thursday in a bid to make more money than ever over the Black Friday weekend.
“Retailers are now commercializing Thanksgiving, giving the opportunity to the consumer who doesn’t want to watch 12 hours of football,” said Marshal Cohen from consumer research firm NPD Group.
“It’s no longer Christmas creep, it’s the Christmas crush. This is about beating the competition.”
Across the US, a staggering 17% of consumers – or 41 million people – are expected to shop on Thanksgiving, according to a consumer holiday tracking survey by The International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs.
And for retailers, it makes sense. Last year, stores which extended their hours saw sales soar by up to 22% over the weekend, while those retailers that did not lost up to 8%.
The National Retail Federation predicts 147 million Americans will shop over Thanksgiving weekend, and that there will be an increase of holiday sales of 4.1% on last year.
Already queues are snaking outside large stores. Tents began gathering outside Best Buy stores on Tuesday as bargain hunters hoped to get their hands on gadgets when doors open on Friday.
Stores are enticing shoppers with discounts including $7 board games at Target, $19 sweaters at Gap and $299 Toshiba 50-inch LEDs at Sears – down from $849.
Aware that many customers plan to shop online, Target and Best Buy are also matching prices offered by online competitors such as Amazon.com, Bloomberg reported.
And in some stores, there will be kiosks and mobile checkouts to integrate online and in-store shopping, while Apple customers can simply scan their products and pay remotely.
Millions of bargain-hungry shoppers are set to scour shops for deals on Thanksgiving as an increasing number of stores across the country throw open their doors a day early
Independent stores and entire malls nationwide are also opening early. In South Florida, for example, Dolphin Mall in Sweetwater and Sawgrass Mills in Sunrise each open at 9 p.m. on Thursday for 24 hours.
With stores opening earlier, the retail industry has crossed the Black Friday barrier and it might creep further forward still, Kimberly Taylor, an associate professor from Florida International University, told the Miami Herald.
“It is becoming almost a whole season,” she said.
“Where is it going to end? Will it take away the whole Black Friday if it is the whole week or the whole season?”
There will also be early sales online as discounts are offered ahead of the internet’s equivalent of Black Friday – Cyber Monday.
The deals are expected to boost sales made on Thanksgiving last year, when online spending rose 18% to $479 million. On Black Friday, sales soared 26% to $816 million.
But not all employees are happy about the changes, with some workers signing petitions at change.org demanding stores including Target and Walmart stay closed on Thursday.
One petition started by a Target employee, Casey St Clair, was entitled “Target: Take the High Road and Save Thanksgiving” and had gathered almost 400,000 supporters.
But in response, Target told the Orange County Register that other workers were happy to have the overtime hours.
“When we made the decision to open our doors at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving, the first thing we did was reach out to all of our store leaders and ask them to have discussions with their team members and seek volunteers wanting to work,” Tina Schiel, executive vice president of stores for Target, said.
“We had so many team members who wanted to work on Thursday that hundreds of our stores are now keeping lists of volunteers who want to work if shifts open up.”
Thanksgiving weekend has become the official kick-off of the holiday shopping season with stores offering major sales and Black Friday deals to lure shoppers.
The day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday to retailers because it puts them “in the black” profit-wise. It is the busiest shopping day of the year in terms of traffic (though more money is spent on the weekend before Christmas).
Serious shoppers know they can score serious deals on Thanksgiving weekend. But it takes some savvy to find the best deals and fight the crowds. Desperate shoppers have been known to camp out overnight to be first in line for major deals on hot items (now that’s dedication).
Black Friday Sale Events in New York City
Best Buy Best Buy is promoting daily deals during the countdown to Thanksgiving. You can sign up to be alerted when new deals are revealed.
Ikea Take a trip to Brooklyn or New Jersey for Black Friday deals at IKEA.
JC Penney Check out the many in-store deals at JC Penney on Black Friday. Shop at JC Penney on Black Friday and you can also win prizes including 100 great American vacations.
Macy’s Brave the crowds to score major Black Friday bargains at Macy’s.
Old Navy At Old Navy, the doors open at midnight on Black Friday and there will be three rounds of doorbuster deals. Some early-bird shoppers will get free copies of the new Super Mario Bros. U game and Old Navy will be giving away 1,000 Wii systems.
Staples Staples is advertising early bird deals starting at 5am on Black Friday.
Toys R Us Get a sneak peek at the Toys R Us Black Friday ad featuring more than 200 doorbusters and “our lowest prices ever.”
What Else Is On Sale
Most stores keep their Black Friday sales under wraps until a few days before. However, we are usually able to track down some hot outlet and electronics store deals that have already been announced, along with some sites that will email you with updates as new info becomes available.
Some of the biggest Black Friday deals are usually found on hot electronics purchases (think iPad, video game systems, TVs, DVD players), so also keep an eye out for sales circulars from stores like Best Buy, J&R and Circuit City.
Thanksgiving weekend has become the official kick-off of the holiday shopping season with stores offering major sales and Black Friday deals to lure shoppers
Black Friday Holiday Shopping – Outlets
Woodbury Common Outlets After-Thanksgiving Black Friday Weekend Sale Midnight, November 23rd through 9pm on November 25th, 2012 Venture out of the city to save big on major brands at this holiday weekend sale event at the Woodbury Common outlets. It’s a short trip by car or public transportation. Outlet stores will be offering additional savings on their everyday low outlet prices. There will be added bargains for early shoppers when selected stores open at midnight on Black Friday for a full weekend of shopping madness. Santa and Victorian carolers will be strolling around to entertain you between purchases.
Extended sale hours for all stores: Fri Midnight-10 p.m., Sat 7 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun 8 a.m.- 9 p.m. Crossings Outlets (Poconos) It may be worth a trip to Pennsylvania for this holiday weekend sale event. Stores will be offering additional savings above and beyond their everyday low outlet prices. You’ll need a car for the 1.5 hour trip to Tannersville in the Poconos.
Extended sale hours for all stores: Fri Midnight-10 p.m., Sat 8 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun 9 a.m.- 8 p.m.
Black Friday Holiday Shopping – Electronics
Best Buy The Best Buy Black Friday sale starts at 5AM Friday morning at select locations.
Apple Rumor has it that Apple will once again be offering major Black Friday 2012 deals and once again will not reveal all of the sale detail until the week of Thanksgiving.
Black Friday Holiday Shopping – Department Stores
Check out what’s on sale on Black Friday at your favorite New York City department stores (you can see the famous holiday window displays while you’re there).
The following sites have advance information on sales and discounts at big online and chain stores like Amazon, Target, Best Buy, Toys R Us, Staples, Radio Shack, Express, and more. Sign up for email alerts when new sale information is posted.
Black Friday Ads: See scans of Black Friday Sale ads and circulars from big-name stores.
Retailers this year will open for Black Friday sales early enough to make shoppers choose between hot deals and hot apple pie after Thanksgiving dinner.
From Toys R Us to Target to Walmart, retailers are opening as early as 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving night.
Toys R Us announced Monday that its Black Friday will begin on November 22nd, when doors open at 8:00 p.m. an hour earlier than last year.
To entice shoppers to line up even earlier, the toy retailer will give the first 200 customers at each location a free “Great Big Goody Bag” full of stocking-stuffers up to $30 in value.
“You can have your dinner, then come to our store. We all know that everybody gets burned out on turkey and football,” says Troy Rice, chief of store operations, who expects stores to have lines from 500 to more than 1,000 people by the time doors open.
Despite an increase in online shopping, Black Friday isn’t going anywhere. About 51% of consumers plan to go holiday shopping Thanksgiving weekend, according to a study out Monday from consulting firm Bain.
Opening earlier every year:
• Target. The discounter said Monday that doors will open earlier than ever at 9:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving, offering sales such as $199.99 Sony PS3 consoles and $49 Nook Simple Touch e-readers. From 4:00 a.m. to noon on the day after Thanksgiving, the retailer will give $10 gift cards to shoppers spending over $50 in some categories.
“Many prefer to shop following their family gatherings rather than in the very early hours of the morning,” says Target spokeswoman Jenna Reck.
• Walmart. Target’s announcement follows Walmart’s last week saying its Black Friday will start on Thursday at 8:00 p.m., two hours earlier than last year.
• Sears. Consumers can start shopping at 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving and keep on going until 10 p.m. the next day, says Sears spokesperson Brian Hanover.
“They drop their drumsticks, and they pick up doorbusters,” he says. Members of Sears’ ShopYourWay program can access Black Friday deals online starting on Sunday.
• Kmart. The discounter will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving, with a break for dinner until 8:00 p.m. after which stores are open until 3:00 a.m. Stores re-open two hours later on Friday morning, and stay open until 11:00 p.m. Kmart has opened on Thanksgiving since 1991.
• Staples. The office supplier will give shoppers until 5:00 a.m. to digest their turkey dinners and start shopping its new inventory of big-screen TVs and video game consoles an hour earlier than last year. Those who arrive before noon on Friday can score savings over $200 on certain HP PCs with Windows 8. Additional deals will be offered all week starting on Sunday in store and online with free shipping to boot.
Retailers this year will open for Black Friday sales early enough to make shoppers choose between hot deals and hot apple pie after Thanksgiving dinner
• PetSmart. And pets won’t be left out of the holiday excitement, either. Feline and canine Santa Clauses will be able to shop for their furry friends at PetSmart starting at 7:00 a.m. on Friday, the retailer announced Tuesday.
Black Friday deals include $19.99 Sunbeam Gourmet Dog Treat Makers, and 50% off pet toys and doggy sweaters. Select online-only pet products will be 75% off starting on Monday. After all, 76% of pet owners give Fido or Fluffy presents for the holidays, according to PetSmart.