Black Friday 2011 shopping trends

Will you shop at midnight for Black Friday deals? Photo by ThinkstockWill you shop at midnight for Black Friday deals? Photo by ThinkstockToday is November 1 and as Thanksgiving approaches, shopping aisles are quickly transforming into festive holiday displays. With Black Friday looming just a few weeks away, here's a quick forecast on what shoppers can expect this year and how to save a few bucks without camping out.

Black Friday shopping will start earlier

This year over 800 Macy's stores will open at midnight after Thanksgiving and remain open for 23 hours until 11 p.m. on Friday, November 25. (Last year Macy's opened their doors for shoppers at 4 a.m. with only eight popular stores opening at midnight. Martine Reardon, Macy's executive vice president of marketing, insists "people want to shop through the night." Target will be on the same schedule, also opening at midnight.

Some stores will be open on Thanksgiving Day
Last year for the first time ever, Sears and Kmart stores opened on Thanksgiving morning. (Really, who is buying anything on turkey day other than last minute groceries?) Many Gap Inc. stores were open and Toys R Us stores opened at 10 p.m. Most stores haven't revealed their hours yet, but stores are hoping to have a better holiday season than last year and more shopping hours can help that.

More people will use free Apps to find deals.
Here are our top five picks:

  1. Barcode Reader by SHAPE Services allows consumers to find the lowest possible prices in local and online stores by taking a photo of any printed barcode.
  2. iSlick by Lanuta locates the hottest deals, freebies, sales, coupons, contests, and sweepstakes for the smart online shopper.
  3. Amazon Windowshop is easy to use and grants buyers the same great selection, low prices, and fast delivery as the website.
  4. Catalog Spree by Padopolis, Inc. compiles catalogs from stores like Nordstrom, Coldwater Creek, Patagonia, and many more so you can browse, search, and buy with ease.
  5. ShopShop by Nikolaj Schumacher is a great shopping list App to remember everyone on your gift list.

More people may skip Black Friday for Cyber Monday

According to stats compiled by Overstock, the online shopping event is gaining significant momentum as people resist chaotic, stressful, and dangerous Black Friday crowds. Last year online shoppers spent $1.028 billion, 16% more than Cyber Monday 2009. Numbers are expected to increase this year. Have to work on Cyber Monday? Roughly 29% of employees plan to do some holiday shopping while on the job. Sneaky, sneaky!

Holiday shopping has already started

A recent Google study found that 75% of consumers started researching holiday purchases way back in August. While Nordstrom refuses to promote holiday deals till after Thanksgiving, 40% of online retailers start advertising gift ideas before Halloween.

People will max out their credit cards
According to Overstock data, credit card users spent an average of $85 more on holiday shopping than those who used cash last year. In November of 2010, 13.6 million American still hadn't paid off debt from their 2009 holiday shopping. Let this be a lesson to us all this year. Don't spend more than you can afford!

What is your holiday shopping strategy?

Related links:

14 holiday shopping secrets
5 hidden costs of holiday shopping
How to turn holiday shopping into exercise