With the continuing popularity of online buying, coupled with holiday shoppers' tendency to buy early, will Thanksgiving shopping and Black Friday soon become things of the past?
Patricia Huddleston, Professor in the Department of Advertising + Public Relations, said online sales are predicted to increase by about 16 percent this year and could comprise nearly 12 percent of total holiday sales.
"About 44 percent of shoppers will browse and buy online," Huddleston said. "As a result, predicted foot traffic to brick and mortar stores will decline by about 8 percent."
Some of the gifts on people's lists could be a bit different this year. For example, "athleisure" apparel – athletic apparel worn as casual clothes – and drones. Yes, drones.
Huddleston said it's predicted that as many as 1 million drones could be sold as holiday gifts this year. She said Best Buy is selling them, as well as amazon.com. Starting price: Around $900.
As for Black Friday, its impact is becoming more diffused because sales events during Thanksgiving week continue into Cyber Monday. Nearly 30 percent of holiday shoppers have completed their buying by Thanksgiving, she said.
Despite that, many stores will be open on Thanksgiving.
"This is due to competitive pressure," Huddleston said. "If Macy's is going to be open, then Kohl's will be open too."
She said according to a survey by www.bestblackfriday.com, about 47 percent of people thought stores should not be open on Thanksgiving.