Shoppers will skip Thanksgiving dinner for a deal

A majority of U.S. consumers are expected to shop on Thanksgiving Day, beating out Black Friday and Cyber Monday as the busiest shopping day of the year, according to new research from eBates.

More than half (55 percent) of Americans plan to shop on Thanksgiving Day—more than those who plan to shop on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Forty eight percent of Americans plan to shop on Black Friday and 42 percent of Americans plan on shopping on Cyber Monday.  

Fueling the shift to Thanksgiving Day is a trend toward earlier shopping. More than two thirds of shoppers believe product selection and availability is better, and many are simply responding to retail promotions on that day.

Some 18 percent are just looking to kill time following the big meal.

The issue of whether or not to open stores on Thanksgiving Day continues to be controversial as consumer backlash against the commercialization of the holiday weekend grows. Boycotts are organized and retailers that don't partake are being applauded—REI got lots of attention this week when it announced stores would be closed, and employees paid anyway, on Black Friday.

But there is growing evidence that shoppers don't just want to shop on Thanksgiving, but are now altering plans to do so.

Some 28 percent of the eBates survey respondents plan to eat an earlier Thanksgiving dinner in order to get a head start on shopping, and one in five (20 percent) say they will scope out deals instead of cooking earlier in the day.

There are even some U.S. consumers willing to forgo Thanksgiving dinner altogether: 9 percent said they would rather eat out to get a head start on Black Friday sales.

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