Retailers offering more discounts online to appeal to shoppers - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Retailers offering more discounts online to appeal to shoppers

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WKOW) -- This year, Black Friday shopping looks very different than it has in year's past.

The National Retail Federation says more than half of Americans already started shopping for gifts. Experts say we'll spend more, but see fewer people out at stores.

A lot of the shopping so far has been online. In fact overnight, websites for Walmart, Office Depot, and Kohl's went live with their discounts. Online shopping has already set records. It's up 18% from last year.

In 2016, the number of in-store shoppers dropped by 3 million. And that will benefit consumers because instead of one-day door buster deals, you can expect to see deep discounts in store and online throughout this weekend. Retailers are changing things to cater to you, offering more of their deals online instead of in-store only.

Janice Lieberman, a consumer analyst with DealNews says, "Because of Amazon, most of the stores can't offer the door busters that they used to. They have to compete online. I don't think Black Friday deals are going to go away. They'll probably be equal so that they give the consumer the choice to go either way."

One in-store deal to consider, though: buying a car. Dealerships are offering big incentives right now to get people in the door. 

In general, shoppers are expected to spend a lot more this year; an average of $750, which is up $200 from last year.

So Black Friday, once known as the biggest shopping day of the year, is no more. The busiest day now, according to the National Retail Federation, is Christmas Eve.

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