Shoppers not feeling Black Friday this year

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Black Friday crowds gather inside a Walmart.

NEW YORK  — Stores may be opening early for Black Friday, but that doesn’t mean shoppers will show up.

Most Americans, in fact, are not going to be shopping on either Black Friday or Cyber Monday this year, according to a report released Wednesday by Bankrate.com.

The report found that only 40 percent of Americans plan to shop on Black Friday and only 28 percent plan to do that shopping in a store, while others will go shop online.

“Traditional Black Friday has a bit of a bad rap to the casual shopper,” Bankrate analyst Jeanine Skowronski said.

She mentioned the long lines and horror stories that have popped up in news reports over the last several years.

“That’s making them inclined to stay away on that particular day,” she said.

It’s not just fear of being pepper-sprayed in Wal-Mart, though. The length in the holiday shopping season is a major factor: Some retailers began offering Black Friday deals as early as Nov. 1, taking away the urgency for customers to make it into stores the day after Thanksgiving.

“People have become conditioned to looking for deals and discounts before Black Friday and right after Christmas,” Skowronski said. “It’s more like the deal will come to them, than they need to be aggressive and get the deal.”

Who will be checking out the in-store deals? Mostly millennials, ages 18 to 29. Though they are more likely to shop in stores than go online, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll be buying right away. Skowronski said it’s more about the experience, and that they go to the store to comparison shop.

“This is a game they’re very comfortable playing,” she said. “Millennials are more frugal then they get credit for.”

The data backs that up. While that group plans on spending around $100 to $250 on Black Friday, other shoppers anticipate spending about $400. A quick look shows that spending that kind of money could net a shopper an Xbox One console at Best Buy ($429.99) or two iPad Minis from Walmart ($199 each).

And there’s always Cyber Monday, though only one in four Americans anticipate they’ll be making a purchase that day, according to the report.

What of those in line on Thanksgiving Day?

“That day is for the big time bargain hunters, those who are thinking, ‘I need to be first to get the best deal,” Skowronski said.

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