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BLACK FRIDAY AND CYBER MONDAYLondon Shoppers join hunt for Black Friday deals | 1:03

As UK retailers follow in the steps of their American counterparts, shoppers in London headed out early on Friday morning to make the most of the Black Friday sales. (Nov. 25) AP

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BLACK FRIDAY AND CYBER MONDAYBlack Friday shoppers rush into stores | 1:01

The holiday shopping season kicked off with people rushing through store doors early Friday morning. Shoppers sprang into action at the Best Buy in Watertown, Massachusetts at 1 A.M. (Nov. 25) AP

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BLACK FRIDAY AND CYBER MONDAYBest Cyber Monday deals | 0:59

Money expert Matt Granite lists the top deals you can find on Cyber Monday. USA TODAY NETWORK

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BLACK FRIDAY AND CYBER MONDAYWalmart is starting post-Black Friday deals even earlier | 1:22

In order to keep up with rivals the retail giant will roll out its Cyber Monday online deals on Friday. Time

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BLACK FRIDAY AND CYBER MONDAYBlack Friday secrets the stores don’t want you to know | 1:01

Money expert Matt Granite spills the shopping secrets you need to save the most on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. USA TODAY NETWORK

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BLACK FRIDAY AND CYBER MONDAYBlack Friday: Amazon’s best deals | 0:55

Deal guru Matt Granite reveals some of Amazon’s deepest Black Friday discounts. USA TODAY NETWORK

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BLACK FRIDAY AND CYBER MONDAYTop 4 Black Friday deals anywhere | 0:55

Deal expert Matt Granite shows you how to get more than 75% off some of the best gifts this holiday season. USA TODAY NETWORK

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BLACK FRIDAY AND CYBER MONDAY5 tips for finding the best deals on Amazon | 1:06

Following these simple tips could save you a ton of cash this holiday season. Reviewed.com

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BLACK FRIDAY AND CYBER MONDAYWhich stores are open, closed Thanksgiving Day | 0:34

Confused about where to shop for those Thanksgiving deals? Have no fear. We’ve put together a list for you. USA TODAY NETWORK

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BLACK FRIDAY AND CYBER MONDAYRetailers buck trend of starting Black Friday on Thanksgiving | 1:09

Major retailers like Costco, Home Depot and REI announced they won’t be open Thanksgiving Day. Sean Dowling (@seandowlingtv) has more. Buzz60

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BLACK FRIDAY AND CYBER MONDAYThe best Black Friday deals for Apple products | 0:46

The best Black Friday deals for Apple products at Target, Walmart, and Best Buy. Time

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BLACK FRIDAY AND CYBER MONDAYWhy it’s time to change your holiday shopping plans | 0:35

Black Friday is no longer the only go-to option for finding the best deals. Here are the other big days to watch out for this holiday shopping season. USA TODAY NETWORK

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BLACK FRIDAY AND CYBER MONDAYTarget will offer more holiday deals than last year | 1:00

As it continues its price war with Walmart Time

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  • London Shoppers join hunt for Black Friday deals
    London Shoppers join hunt for Black Friday deals
  • Black Friday shoppers rush into stores
    Black Friday shoppers rush into stores
  • Best Cyber Monday deals
    Best Cyber Monday deals
  • Walmart is starting post-Black Friday deals even earlier
    Walmart is starting post-Black Friday deals even earlier
  • Black Friday secrets the stores don't want you to know
    Black Friday secrets the stores don’t want you to know
  • Black Friday: Amazon's best deals
    Black Friday: Amazon’s best deals
  • Top 4 Black Friday deals anywhere
    Top 4 Black Friday deals anywhere
  • 5 tips for finding the best deals on Amazon
    5 tips for finding the best deals on Amazon
  • Which stores are open, closed Thanksgiving Day
    Which stores are open, closed Thanksgiving Day
  • Retailers buck trend of starting Black Friday on Thanksgiving
    Retailers buck trend of starting Black Friday on Thanksgiving
  • The best Black Friday deals for Apple products
    The best Black Friday deals for Apple products
  • Why it's time to change your holiday shopping plans
    Why it’s time to change your holiday shopping plans
  • Target will offer more holiday deals than last year
    Target will offer more holiday deals than last year

Shoppers lined up at stores and flocked to their computer screens across the nation starting before dawn in search of bargains on Black Friday, putting the retail industry on track for what may be a record sales day. Online sales were forecast to pass $3 billion for the first time.

The frenzy continued into midday as shoppers were lured out not only by a generally strong economy, helped by a rising stock market, but also by what many perceived as exceptional deals. Retailers seeded their advertising with deep-discount “doorbuster” alerts earlier than last year to build early crowds, and offered more dramatic discounts, said Traci Gregorski, senior vice president of marketing at Market Track.

As a result, this year’s Black Friday could be record-setting. Early data indicates that Black Friday online sales at U.S. retail Web sites have brought in $490 million so far between midnight and 8:30 a.m. ET., reported Adobe Digital Insights. Adobe forecasts that Black Friday sales online will surpass $3 billion for the first time ever, hitting $3.05 billion in online revenue, up 11.3% over last year.

More shoppers are using their smartphones and tablets, too. Adobe expects Black Friday to be the first day in retail history to exceed $1 Billion in mobile revenue.

Walmart was one of the retailers to experience a mobile boom. For its Black Friday event, 70% of the retailer’s online traffic was through mobile. And 60% of orders on Walmart.com were made with mobile devices. “Customers are getting more and more comfortable clicking the buy button on their smartphones,’’ Walmart spokesman Ravi Jariwala said in a statement..

Deals brought out consumers like Linda Dubbs, of Hanover, Penn., who turned her Black Friday shopping into a 16-hour marathon that started at 2:30 p.m. ET on Thanksgiving Day. “As long as I keep going, I’m okay,” she said.

Dubbs wielded her smartphone to hunt for bargains in a plan of action that brought her to Home Depot in Hanover at about 6:30 a.m. on Black Friday. She was 12th spot in line at the home-improvement megastore before being eighth in line at a Kohl’s store earlier.

She also downloaded apps for the major stores and was searching for the best deals, such as the heating blanket she chose to buy at Kohl’s over JC Penney. “I checked to see if it was a good price or a bad price,” Dubbs said.

She was far from done. After hitting Home Depot and five other stores, Dubbs planned to head to Lowe’s and Staples to buy gifts for her three daughters. With an exuberant smile, she rattled off her purchases: clothes, shoes, a vacuum, a pressure cooker and pillows.

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The holiday shopping season kicked off with people rushing through store doors early Friday morning. Shoppers sprang into action at the Best Buy in Watertown, Massachusetts at 1 A.M. (Nov. 25) AP

By being open on Thanksgiving Day, retailers can ring up more sales and take some of the pressure off store clerks when it comes to managing crowds. “It’s totally different now than it used to be,” said Maura Macissac, manager of the Eddie Bauer store at Tanger Outlets in Rehoboth Beach, Del. “We used to open on Friday morning and there would be huge lines. Now we start on Thanksgiving so it’s a lot more spread out.”

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Shoppers line up for purchases at a Best Buy store

Shoppers line up for purchases at a Best Buy store in Skokie, Ill.  Nam Y. Huh, AP
Shoppers take advantage of Black Friday deals in Cincinnai

Shoppers take advantage of Black Friday deals in Cincinnai at the Kenwood Towne Center.   Cara Owsley, The Enquirer, Via The USA Today Network
Karin Jacobsen, a student at Bowling Green State with

Karin Jacobsen, a student at Bowling Green State with friends, Brandy Browning and Ilma Alfadaila, both students at University of Cincinnati, take a break from Black Friday shopping at Kenwood Towne Center.   Cara Owsley, The Enquirer via the USA Today Network
Shoppers maneuver through this Target store in Plainville,

Shoppers maneuver through this Target store in Plainville, Mass., shortly after the store opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. Large screen televisions were among the popular items purchased.  Mark Stockwell, AP
Chris Jolly and his son Chris Jr. shopped for Black

Chris Jolly and his son Chris Jr. shopped for Black Friday deals in Bentonville, Ark. Nov. 24, 2016.   Gunnar Rathbun, Ap Images For Walmart
Sandy Costeira has her hands full with purchases as

Sandy Costeira has her hands full with purchases as she makes her way through Best Buy on Black Friday, Nov. 25, 2016, in Dartmouth, Mass.   Peter Pereira, AP
Shoppers buy gifts at the Toys"R"Us store during early

Shoppers buy gifts at the Toys”R”Us store during early Black Friday events on in Paramus, N.J.  Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, Getty Images
Black Friday shoppers wait in line in Fairfax, Va.

Black Friday shoppers wait in line in Fairfax, Va. to be some of the first shoppers allowed in for discounted prices on electronic items at the Best Buy.   Paul J. Richards, AFP/Getty Images
A Fairfax County Police Officer keeps an eye on Black

A Fairfax County Police Officer keeps an eye on Black Friday shoppers waiting in line in Fairfax, Va.  Paul J. Richards, AFP/Getty Images
Black Friday shoppers load a big screen TV into their

Black Friday shoppers load a big screen TV into their car after purchasing it at the Best Buy in Fairfax, Va.  Paul J. Richards, AFP/Getty Images
David Paape of West Bend holds two items stacked on

David Paape of West Bend holds two items stacked on top of each other as he searches for the back of the checkout line while shopping the Black Friday deals at Kohl’s, in West Bend, Wis.   John Ehlke, West Bend Daily News via AP
Crowds line up outside of Kohl's waiting for the store

Crowds line up outside of Kohl’s waiting for the store to open for the Black Friday in West Bend, Wis.   John Ehlke, West Bend Daily News via AP
Kristen Guthrie looks over coupons with her mother

Kristen Guthrie looks over coupons with her mother Jackie Guthrie before shopping on Thanksgiving at Toys “R” Us in Panama City, Fla.  Patti Blake, News Herald via AP
Jessica Harrey shops for her 6-year-old son on Thanksgiving

Jessica Harrey shops for her 6-year-old son on Thanksgiving at Toys “R” Us in Panama City, Fla.   Patti Blake, News Herald via AP
Shoppers fill their carts at Toys "R" Us, in Panama

Shoppers fill their carts at Toys “R” Us, in Panama City, Fla.  Patti Blake, News Herald via AP
Jennifer Dickson chats on the phone while shopping

Jennifer Dickson chats on the phone while shopping on Thanksgiving at Toys “R” Us in Panama City, Fla.  Patti Blake, News Herald via AP
People walk into the Target for the Black Friday sales

People walk into the Target for the Black Friday sales in Keene, N.H.  Kristopher Radder, The Brattleboro Reformer via AP
Donnell Allen, a sales associate at JC Penny, attempts

Donnell Allen, a sales associate at JC Penny, attempts to hand out coupon packets while being rushed by a crowd of Black Friday shoppers shortly after the doors opened at 3 p.m. at Midland Park Mall in Midland, Texas.   James Durbin, Reporter-Telegram via AP
Customers shop just after the 3 p.m. Black Friday sale

Customers shop just after the 3 p.m. Black Friday sale opening at the JC Penney department store at Broadway Square Mall in Tyler, Texas.  Sarah A. Miller, Tyler Morning Telegraph via AP
Sarah Gregg, left, lays a blanket out with several

Sarah Gregg, left, lays a blanket out with several other people, that camped out over night in tents, and subfreezing temperatures to be first in line for Black Friday sales outside Best Buy in Orem, Utah.  George Frey, Getty Images
Toys"R"Us workers wait for shoppers inside the store

Toys”R”Us workers wait for shoppers inside the store during early Black Friday events in Paramus, N.J.  Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, Getty Images
Shoppers buy gifts at the Toys"R"Us store during early

Shoppers buy gifts at the Toys”R”Us store during early Black Friday events on in Paramus, N.J.  Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, Getty Images
Shoppers buy gifts at the Toys"R"Us store during early

Shoppers buy gifts at the Toys”R”Us store during early Black Friday events on in Paramus, N.J.  Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, Getty Images

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More than 100 million shoppers were expected to partake in the Black Friday hullabaloo. Overall, more than 137 million plan to shop over the extended Thanksgiving Day weekend, according to the annual survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. But Black Friday still stands out as the day expected to attract the largest crowds with nearly three-fourths of buyers (74%) planned to shop then, about the same as last year.

Nearly half plan to shop on Saturday — about one out of four specifically to support Small Business Saturday. Another one out of four expect to shop Sunday, the retail trade group estimates.

Walking around NJ’s Garden State Plaza. Seeing a lot of younger people out on #BlackFriday. Philip, Nick and Derek from Emerson here since 6 pic.twitter.com/oh3nNOuwhi

— Eli Blumenthal (@eliblumenthal) November 25, 2016

Before its doors opened at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, 16,000 people had gathered at Macy’s flagship store in New York City’s Herald Square.

“We had a big crowd last year of 15,000,’’ said Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren. “But there were no gaps this year. The entire store, which is a city block, was completely surrounded with people waiting patiently.’’

If early sales are any indication, many of those early shoppers were coveting $15 fragrance sets, and cashmere sweaters on sale for $39.99, which were among the retailer’s top sellers. Time pieces that combined tech and luxury were also at the top of many shopping lists with the Series One Apple Watch sold out online by Friday morning.

Though Macy’s does not give out daily sales numbers, Lundgren said traffic remained strong at Macy’s in Herald Square by late Friday morning, and there were similar reports from locations across the U.S. “People are out, considering this a social experience as well as a buying experience,’’ he said of the Black Friday throngs. “So far it’s encouraging what we’re seeing out there in our stores. We’ve got a long way to go, still plenty of business to do, particularly on the West Coast where it’s still early. But both for our stores and online business, so far, so good.’’

Shopping at the Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, N.J., Kate Gundburg, 33, of Accord, N.Y., figured she saved 40% to 70% on her purchases, which included a drone and several video games. She prefers shopping online. “This is my first time out in six years. I could do without the crowd,” said Gundburg, accompanied by her mother Carol Dennin.

“It’s a tradition,” Dennin said. “I’m not crazy about shopping online. It’s generational.”

In Louisville, Ky., Manasaa Kannan agreed that research is also key to finding the best Black Friday deals. When she and friend Sanjana Mahesh headed out at 5 a.m. on the hunt for Converse sneakers, Kannan had already been perusing deals online for nearly two hours. At Kohl’s, she found, they could find the shoes for $41.25, with an additional $15 in Kohl’s Cash if they spent $50.

Also on their shopping list: black chokers and a long-sleeve crop top for Mahesh. The two mostly planned to shop for themselves but said they might shop for gifts for family members.

Mahesh and Kannan, who are students at the Ohio State University and Centre College, respectively, have been shopping on Black Friday together for about seven years. Their advice? Refuse to pay retail price on Black Friday, Mahesh said, and “have fun. Don’t take it too seriously.”

Dedication pays off, too, said Paul Grafton, who had been waiting in a long line for more than an hour at the White Rose Bar and Grill in York, Penn., Friday morning. The restaurant was selling its gift cards for half the normal price. “It’s the best deal I wanted to stand on line for,” he said.

For Matt Kita, Black Friday is a tradition that he has sold to his wife’s side of the family. In town from outside Philadelphia, he convinced them to hit Tyson’s Corner Center in McLean, Va., about 5 a.m. “It’s good. It’s fun,” he said as he took a break from the deals on a bench with his infant nephew in his lap.

With no specific items on his list, Kita said he’s just trying to get as much shopping done in one day. “Deals are deals,” he said.

But he noticed lower turnout and less urgency among the shopping crowds. “This seems pretty low key this year,” Kita said. “I’ve seen it way crazier than this. This is pretty low key, pretty easy so far.”

If crowds seemed smaller that’s because Black Friday’s status as the busiest shopping day of the year is slowly slipping away. “The holiday season that used to start at 6 a.m. on Black Friday morning starts a week in or two before online or in store,’’ says Brian Yarbrough, consumer analyst at Edward Jones. Coupled with a holiday weekend that concludes with Cyber Monday “Black Friday as a core shopping event that used to always be in the top five (shopping days) continues to decrease in importance.’’

That doesn’t bother Cedric Barnes of Dover, Del., an early morning shopper at the Tanger Outlets in Rehoboth Beach, Del. He prefers the more subdued Black Friday crowds. “It’s more civilized these days,” he said. “When they were kids, I was the guy up at 1 or 2 in the morning when the doors opened and the employees went running.”

Barnes gathered up his teenage children Cydney and Cedric II to go shopping at 5 a.m. for their own Christmas presents. “I don’t do the Santa thing anymore,” he said.

Contributing: Dustin Levy in Hanover, Pa., Kirsten Clark in Louisville, Ky., Jason Plotkin in York, Pa., Scott Goss in Rehoboth Beach, Del., Ryan Miller in McLean, Va., and Eli Blumenthal in Paramus, N.J.

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