Black Friday is not dead. In fact, this may be the strongest Black Friday for retailers in years.
Shoppers were already lined up outside of Target, Best Buy, and J.C. Penney, according to CNBC. Walmart stores went into Black Friday sales mode at 6 p.m.
Discounts are not expected to be especially attractive this year. What is driving the surge in shopping is much stronger consumer confidence. In October, consumer sentiment hit a 13-year high. That cooled slightly but remained above economist expectations in November, signaling that the surge has staying power. Consumers indicate that they feel good about their current financial situation as well as their expectations for the future. Certainty about the outlook for income, employment, and inflation are all vastly improved from past years.
Overall, consumer sentiment is around five percent higher than it was the previous November, according to the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment survey. Deloitte projects that holiday shopping will rise between 4 percent last year and 4.5 percent this year.
Another plus for retailers: moderate weather. It is chilly in much of the country but not frigid. The sun is literally shining across almost all of the United States on the day after Thanksgiving. That will likely drive many people out of their homes and into shopping malls.
Much of the shopping has shifted online, however. According to Adobe Analytics, Americans spent $1.52 billion on Thanksgiving evening–a 17 percent surge over last year.