Anna Marum/The Oregonian - For the second year running, Black Friday started the day after Halloween.
This year, the federation is changing its definition of Thanksgiving weekend. For the first time, it will include Cyber Monday in its equation. According to a survey of more than 7,000 shoppers commissioned by the trade group, Black Friday is still the most popular shopping day of the five-day period, with Cyber Monday coming in second.
That plan did not work, Green said.
"They were open on Thanksgiving night," he said. "At 2 a.m., they were fully staffed and no one was there."
This year, the retailer will close its stores at midnight and re-open 6 a.m. Friday.
"I think it's more of a cultural ambivalence," she said. "If people were rushing out at 5 p.m. to shop, believe me the retailers would be open."
And while JC Penney will open at 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving – one hour earlier than last year – it will be among the few stores open that early. Similar to last year, Macy's, Kohl's and Toys R Us will all open at 5 p.m.
For instance, shoppers can get many of Thanksgiving's doorbuster deals on their phone without leaving the dinner table or braving any lines. Choice is key, Campbell explained: Shoppers can get products delivered to their doors, or, if they'd rather not wait, they can pick up products in-store.
"The shopper has taken control of the season," he said, "and (retailers) are scrambling to keep up."
Consumers also are taking advantage of the early November discounts by starting their holiday shopping earlier.
According to a survey by RetailMeNot, 45 percent of respondents said they planned to start their holiday shopping before Nov. 1. And 54 percent said they hoped to start buying gifts before Black Friday.
But analysts like Corlett insist procrastinators haven't missed out on the season's best deals.
To score a great price on an item, she suggests leaving it in your online cart and waiting for the retailer to email you with a coupon code or news of a sale.
"The nature of retail now, is there's a sale 24/7," she said. "If what you want isn't on sale now, hold your breath for 10 seconds and it will be on sale."