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COLUMBIA - Monday may be the new Friday, at least as far as holiday shopping is concerned. 

A recent survey from the National Retail Federation found retail sales are down 11 percent from last year. This is the second straight year with a drop. 

However, according to the E-commerce marketing analytics firm Custora, online shopping is up 15 percent from last year. 

More than 126 million people turned to the Internet for some holiday shopping this Monday, showing a shift away from brick and mortar stores. 

Holiday time is extremely important for a lot of industries. The U.S. Census Bureau shows in its Monthly Retail Trade Report many industries receive more than a 20 percent increase in sales during November and December. According to the report, electronics and appliance sales see a 35 percent increase in last two months of the year, the same with sports goods. 

So why the change? 

According to the National Retail Federation, people are being smarter with their money. The NRF said people are waiting for the better deals which come closer to Christmas time. 

Retail stores are also offering their discounts earlier and earlier in the year. With some "Black Friday" sales starting on Thanksgiving or even earlier, people are shopping earlier avoiding the shopping rush. 

Also people are not always buying gifts but instead opting for gift cards. According to retailers' surveys,  80 percent of shoppers plan on buying at least one gift card while almost a fifth plan on buying six or more. Gift cards do not count as retail purchases, even if they are purchased before holidays. Instead the sales are not recognized until those cards are redeemed. 

Online shopping is another reason behind the slow down in in-store holiday shopping. Buyers can still get the same deals as if they were at a brick and mortar store without having to get up at 4 a.m.

According to NRF, almost 42 percent of the the money spent this weekend was online. 

While the importance of Black Friday may be fading, the NRF report showed Black Friday is still the biggest day of the year for retail sales. 

 

 

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