Fewer shoppers compete for Black Friday doorbusters

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Savvy shoppers have been tracking sales and prices for days to take advantage of the best deals, whether they're online or in-store. Black Friday specials have been available already this week, and that's changing when and where shoppers spend their money.

It used to be dozens of shoppers would camp out overnight to get so-called doorbusters when stores opened on Thanksgiving evening. Not anymore. There were only three people at this Best Buy at The Plant shopping center in San Jose.

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"I think that it's due to some of the online sales and really being able to capture some of those sales online," said Carlye Hartwood from San Jose.

Retailers do lure in shoppers with in-store only specials. Just ask Monique Amador, who's number one in line outside Best Buy with her son, Enrique.

"They've got a great 70-inch LG for $699," she said, clutching the Best Buy sale circular. "That beats out $150 anywhere else. I've already priced everything."

However, online shopping is siphoning away sales. Adobe Analytics says among 80 top online sites, shoppers are expected to spend $3 billion in sales on Thanksgiving, eclipsing yesterday's take of $2.4 billion, which is up 32 percent from a year ago. The average online order is $141, up 3 percent from last year.

While some stores are closed all day, some have employees stocking shelves Thursday for Black Friday. Bass Pro Shops in San Jose is open all day, and it is extending its deals over five days.

"We try to spread it out so that it's a lot easier for our customers and they're not trying to shove it all into one day," said Debben Cannon, club manager at Bass Pro Shops. "We know that they do want to spend time with their families."

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Still, some specials are saved for Black Friday. Two brands of kids bikes will be $20 cheaper for six hours early Friday morning. And another deal is being kept under wraps until Friday to lure shoppers back.

A priceless benefit Thursday -- short lines to get a photo with Santa Claus. Santa had a special message for all: "Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!"

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