LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Thousands of Southern Californians flocked to stores and malls to continue the tradition of searching for Black Friday bargains amid major changes in the ever-evolving trend of Thanksgiving weekend shopping.

“Black Friday is no longer just one-day holiday exclusively centered on in-store shopping,” chief economist and senior direct of research of the Consumer Technology Association Shawn DuBravac said.

“Black Friday now spans the entire week, with online and mobile shopping playing an important role as consumers increasingly rely on tech to complete their holiday shopping.”

President and CEO of the National Retail Federation, Matthew Shay, who heads the world’s largest retail trade association, says Black Friday “can no longer be seen as the start of the holiday season, though there’s no question it’s still important to millions of holiday shoppers and retailers of all shapes and sizes.”

“There is a real sea change happening in retail when it comes to the how, when, where and why of holiday shopping. Consumers today are looking for great prices and value-add promotions earlier than ever before and retailers have answered these demands in several ways already this holiday season.”

Such changes to holiday shopping includes the fact that stores are now offering their Black Friday discounts earlier, and the continued growth of online shopping.

Despite these changes, however, the federation’s Thanksgiving Weekend Expectations survey found more people planning to shop on Black Friday, 99.77 million, than last year, in which there were 95.51 million shoppers.

“This weekend isn’t the end-all-be-all,” Shay stated. “It’s important to remember there will be several important weekends to keep an eye on before we wrap up the holiday season.”

Mattel’s Barbie doll line has regained its position atop the National Retail Federation’s Holiday Top Toy list for gifts, after falling behind merchandise related to the Disney animated musical “Frozen” in 2014. Lego construction toys again topped the list for boys.

Meanwhile, “Star Wars” products were second on the boys’ list, followed by cars and trucks, video games, Hot Wheels cars, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures, the Xbox One and Playstation 4 systems, Nerf products and Marvel action figures.

In Los Angeles, popular shopping centers and outlets like the Glendale Galleria and the Citadel outlets experienced a calmer Black Friday than usual, due in part to the growing trend of shopping on Thanksgiving itself.

“It was really nice to come in, find a parking space right away close by, and we started walking around and catching our deals,” shopper Francisco Mercardo said.

The Citadel opened its doors at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night, and hadn’t closed its doors as of Friday afternoon. Meanwhile, at the Galleria, where doors had opened at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving, conditions seemed normal by 6 a.m. on Friday.

“You really get a stretched out version of Black Friday now,” shopper Christina Riojas said. “So it’s not the same deals you get on Thanksgiving, you get a different one at midnight, a different one at 3 a.m., and you get another one at like noon on Black Friday.”

CBS2’s Andrea Fujii staked out the Topanga Mall where she saw very few people empty-handed.

“Everything was buy three, get three free,” said shopper Rees Smith, “so we really went in on that deal and it was really fun.”

Janine Angel said she hadn’t planned on shopping on Black Friday but couldn’t resist the deals.

“A ridiculous amount from the Body Shop. I think the whole store was 50 percent off. It was crazy.”

David Tan ventured out with his wife and family — including 1-year-old twins. He was also happy to see the bargains.

“We had a lot of stuff 50 percent off, 60 percent off. Especially kid stuff which is helpful.”

 

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