VIRGINIA BEACH-- So let the shopping begin. Already shoppers in the area are lining up for Black Friday deals.
Wednesday evening about a dozen people were camped out at the Best Buy on Independence Boulevard near I-264. The store doesn't open until midnight Thursday.
A KMART on General Booth Boulevard in Virginia Beach told WVEC.com that it would be opening its doors at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving day.
ABC News is reporting that Black Friday deals are available to shoppers even earlier this year, and though there will be a large inventory of discounted merchandise, this week is not the best time of the year for the steepest discounts.
The two times of the year that offer the steepest online discounts are January to February and August to September, when discounts average 46 percent, according to Tamra Feldman, vice president of marketing at personalized shopping deals site Shop It To Me.
On the other hand, the average discount offered during Thanksgiving week is about 40 percent, according to the 150 online retailers in Shop It To Me's database.
Like previous years, stores are commonly offering free online shipping with no minimum purchase total this season.
Stores like Sears and Ann Taylor have begun offering online discounts earlier in the week for Black Friday. Because consumers are more comfortable shopping online, Cyber Monday is less of a gimmicky one-time event to entice shoppers to go online.
In fact, 87 percent of consumers will use a mobile device to help make a purchasing decision this holiday season, according to a survey of 1,000 adults conducted by the Mobile Marketing Association and Sybase 365, the mobile services arm of software firm SAP. Half of those surveyed said they will make a purchase with mobile device this season.
To capitalize on these tech-friendly shoppers, many retailers including Kohl's and Walmart will offer special Cyber Week online deals throughout the week after Thanksgiving.