(Reuters)—Mall crowds were relatively thin early on Black Friday in a sign of what has become the new normal in U.S. holiday shopping: the mad rush is happening the night of Thanksgiving and more consumers are picking up deals online.
Most major retailers now open their doors Thursday evening and offer extended holiday deals rather than limiting them to one day. The result is a quieter experience on what has traditionally been the busiest, and sometimes most chaotic, shopping day of the year.
“It just looks like any other weekend,” said Angela Olivera, a 32-year old housewife shopping for children’s clothing at the Westfarms Mall near Hartford, Connecticut. “The kind of crowds we usually see are missing and this is one of the biggest malls here. I think people are just not spending a lot.”