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Americans will spend fewer dollars on Black Friday as rising prices and online shopping further erode the clout of the single-day retail holiday, according to consumer forecasts.

Fifty-one percent of 1,000 shoppers responding to a survey will “pull back on spending” this Friday compared to last year due to inflation, consumer researcher Attest reported. Those shoppers said they are saving money for daily expenses, an economic crisis, energy bills and gas money instead.

“Inflation’s impact is hard to ignore from our research,” said Attest CEO Jeremy King.

Attest found consumers will spend an average of $101-200 on the day after Thanksgiving, down from $300-$500 last year — and clothing has replaced electronics for the first time as the most sought-after item.

The “recommerce” platform B-Stock, which resells returned, overstocked and liquidated merchandise for nine leading retailers including Target, Amazon and Walmart, predicts electronics will see little discounting this weekend due to global supply shortages.

The company says overstocked clothing, small appliances and home and garden products will see the best discounts as shoppers focus more on everyday essentials.

Online sellers and inflation have driven “the final nail in the coffin of Black Friday,” said Sam Kain, a finance teacher at Walsh College in Michigan.

“It isn’t Black Friday that is dying, it is brick-and-mortar retail that is dying,” Mr. Kain said. “It is much more convenient to make purchases from the comfort of your own home, away from the throng of crowds willing to overrun you in pursuit of deals.”

Once the most popular shopping day of the year, Black Friday has faded in prominence as retailers move seasonal discounts earlier to compete with online sellers.

“Black Friday, once known as a one-day event, has turned into a shopping season that starts in September and continues well into January,” said Angelica Gianchandani, a consumer behavior specialist and business professor at the University of New Haven.

Target launched its pre-Black Friday sale on Oct. 6, four days earlier than last year. Last month, Amazon hosted a Prime Early Access Sale with Black Friday-like deals, the first time the retail giant has offered two Prime Day sales in a year.

“In recent years consumer behavior has shifted with many preferring to spread their shopping out over the entire season,” said Lottie Watts, a spokeswoman for the National Retail Federation (NRF). “Retailers have adapted to ensure they are meeting consumers when and how they want to shop.”

In a recent NRF survey, 60% of consumers said they had already started making holiday purchases by early November this year. That’s up from 56% who said the same in 2019.

“This consumer trend of earlier shopping was accelerated by the pandemic,” the retail group said in a press release.

The NRF survey found that Black Friday remains the most popular shopping day of Thanksgiving weekend, with 69% (an estimated 114.9 million people) planning to shop then and 38% (63.9 million people) on Cyber Monday. Among Black Friday shoppers, 67% plan to shop in person at stores this year, up from 64% last year.

“Black Friday isn’t dying, it’s becoming more flexible,” said Ryan Young, a senior fellow at the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute. “That’s why we’re seeing more retailers hold Black November sales that last the whole month. People are busy and smart retailers cater to that.”

But small business owner Michael Austin, a former chief economic adviser to two Kansas governors, says Amazon killed Black Friday as e-commerce has tripled in market share over the last 10 years.

“With trends like these, Black Friday is now a relic of a bygone commercial era,” said Mr. Austin, an economist with the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Project 21.

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