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Pre-Thanksgiving Promos Upstage Black Friday Deals

Black Friday used to be the best day for the biggest sales, but early discounts have stolen from of the crazed-day’s thunder. Shoppers may even find that what remains on Black Friday is lower stock, leftovers and less lucrative deals.

A recent study by Adobe Systems, which tracked data from 4,500 retail websites, found that online prices will be lower on Thanksgiving Day than any other day during the festive season, on average 24 percent cheaper, compared to 23 percent less pricey on Black Friday and 20 percent down on Cyber Monday. But online prices should see the largest single day drop (5 percent) over the Sunday to Monday before Thanksgiving.

Many retailers adopted the week-long Black Friday deals, starting sales as early as Monday, which will last through Cyber Monday, and in some cases up to Tuesday. Retailers like Lord and Taylor, Gap and J.Crew’s Madewell are all in full sales swing online. Amazon is calling its already ongoing promo: Black Friday Deals Week.

Adobe expects $1.35 billion in online sales on Thanksgiving Day, a 27 percent increase over last year. On Black Friday—still predicted to be the fastest growing online sales day—e-sales could hit $2.48 billion, up 28 percent from 2013, and Cyber Monday sales are expected to be up 15 percent to $2.6 billion. November and December alone will drive more than 27 percent of total online sales for U.S. retailers.

Thanksgiving Day is expected to be the most mobile shopping day of the year. A record high 31 percent of all online sales will be made via smartphones and tablets, up from 21 percent last year. Mobile devices are expected to drive 26 percent of sales, or $644 million, on Black Friday, and 20 percent, or $520 million on Cyber Monday.

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“Consumers will be able to get the best deals this year if they shop online on Thanksgiving Day,” Brad Rencher, senior vice president of digital marketing at Adobe said. “Smartphones and tablets continue to drive more and more sales online, which will lead to new sales records on Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. With over 30 cents on the dollar spent via mobile devices, Thanksgiving Day will surpass Black Friday as the most mobile shopping day ever recorded.”

In-store prices are expected to match online prices with the exception of door-buster deals at brick-and-mortar locales, but shopping online also means skipping elbow throwing to beat the masses to the sales. Online prices will increase on Tuesday, and according to Adobe, out-of-stock messages will be up five-fold on Cyber Monday.

The retailers creating the most buzz about sales via social media are Amazon, eBay, Target, Walmart and Gap. Amazon is leading eBay in terms of talk, Gap is ahead of fast fashion retailer H&M, and Target is winning against Walmart, according to Adobe. Amazon, eBay, Target, Walmart and Gap all already have Black Friday online deals in place.