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Black Friday, Cyber Monday Start US Holiday Shopping

Customers wrap up their holiday shopping during Walmart's Black Friday events in Bentonville, Arkansas on November 27, 2014 (Gunnar Rathbun/AP)

Customers wrap up their holiday shopping during Walmart's Black Friday events in Bentonville, Arkansas on November 27, 2014 (Gunnar Rathbun/AP)

America’s holiday shopping season started on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. It is the busiest shopping day of the year.

Retailers make the most money this time of year, about 20 percent to 30 percent of all revenue all year. The National Retail Federation (NRF) says about 136 million people will shop during the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend.

More and more will shop online. In an era of instant information, shoppers can use their mobile phones to find deals. Nearly 80 percent of this year’s holiday shoppers, or about 183.8 million people, will shop on Cyber Monday, says the NRF.

More than half of all holiday purchases will be made online, they say. One-in-five Americans will use a tablet or smartphone.

Pam Goodfellow is an analyst at Prosper Funding LLC. It is an online lender. “Given how shoppers today overall gravitate towards all things digital, there’s a high likelihood online shopping will be bigger than ever over the holiday weekend and on Cyber Monday,” she told the NRF.

Online spending on Black Friday will rise 15 percent to hit $2.7 billion this year. Cyber Monday spending will increase 12 percent to $3 billion, says Adobe Systems Inc.

NBC News reported that for many, shopping online was “a more comfortable alternative” than crowded malls.

The shift to online shopping has had a big impact on “brick and mortar” shopping malls. Since 2010, more than 24 shopping malls have closed and an additional 60 are struggling, according to Green Street Advisors. It tracks the mall industry.

However, Fortune says the weakest of the malls have closed. The sector is thriving again, it says. The International Council of Shopping Centers said 94.2 percent of malls were full, or occupied, with shops by the end of 2014. That is the highest level in 27 years.

Economist Gus Faucher said lower unemployment and rising wages could give Americans more money to spend.

According to the NRF, the average American consumer will spend about $805 on gifts. That’s about $630.5 billion between November and December – an increase of 3.7 percent from last year.

Nonetheless, Cyber Monday is not the biggest online shopping day in the world. That distinction goes to China’s Singles’ Day, celebrated November 11, which posted record sales of $14.3 billion this year.

I’m Mary Gotschall.

Mary Gotschall compiled this story for Learning English with reports from VOA News and other sources. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

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Words in This Story

retailer – n. a person or business that sells things directly to customers for their own use

instantadj. happening or done without delay

mobileadj. able to be moved

gravitatev. to be attracted to or toward something or someone

digitaladj. using or characterized by computer technology

likelihoodn. the chance that something will happen

destinationn. a place to which a person is going or something is being sent

alternativen. something that can be chosen instead of something else : a choice or option

brick and mortaradjectival phrase used to describe a traditional store or business that is in a building instead of on the Internet

malln. a large building or group of buildings containing stores of many different kinds and sizes

occupy v. to fill or be in (a place or space)

distinctionn. a special honor, recognition, or award

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