America goes shopping: Crowds hit the stores for Black Friday 2016

America goes shopping: Crowds hit the stores for Black Friday 2016

The annual retail mega-event began in many stores Thanksgiving evening and will continue well into Friday, with sales and deals throughout the weekend. While Toys R Us and roughly half the stores in the Lima Mall stayed open all night, retail outlets that were closed on Thanksgiving opened their doors between 3 and 6 a.m. Friday. Rhode Island, Massachusetts and ME have all banned retailers from opening on Thanksgiving Day.

Adobe's analysis is closely followed by the industry, because they have captured anonymous data for more than one trillion visits to 4,500 retail websites, including at least 80 percent of all online transactions from the top 100 US retailers.

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For brick-and-mortar retailers, the challenge is to draw more shoppers into their stores on a chaotic day often marred by long lines and crowded parking lots.

This year, retailers are both emphasizing online sales the entire week of Thanksgiving and starting Cyber Monday sales earlier than ever.

For some states, however, the shopping holiday has been banned.

At Macy's flagship store in Manhattan, 16,000 people were waiting outside an hour before it opened its doors on Thanksgiving, CEO Terry Lundgren told CNN's Brooke Baldwin.

Black Friday emerged in the U.S.as a shopping bonanza to kick off the holiday season following that country's statutory holiday on Thursday. Steve Bratspies, chief merchandising officer at Wal-Mart's USA division, said in addition to Black Friday favorites like televisions and toys, they were looking for drones, virtual reality products and hoverboards.

"You actually know what you're getting", said Mr. Ansbro, 33, a construction worker.

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Sure, she says, she could have bought online.

However, gains in revenue remained muted by the dramatic discounts, especially on different electronics. Tablets, for example, were being discounted 25% on average Thursday, compared with 12% a year earlier. But it includes online spending and other non-store sales such as catalogue spending.

"I'm going off to college next year and I needed a computer, so I did some research and found out this is the cheapest price here", he said.

Bree Colley, 30, said she plans to go to Columbia Mall in Missouri on Friday with her mom in their yearly tradition.

The Seattle-based corporation added Black Friday shopping on Amazon.com is already on pace to surpass Black Friday previous year, in terms of items ordered.

Penney also started its Black Friday online sales on Wednesday instead of Thursday to compete better with online-only companies. Retailers have also been spreading deals out more throughout the week which may have diluted the shopping.

Since new deals will be continuously added, customers can use "Watch A Deal" via Amazon shopping app to ensure they don't miss out on anything.

"We saw one of our strongest days ever online", said Brian Cornell, chief executive of the second largest U.S. discount retailer Target, stressing that online sales had grown by double digits.