The easy access of buying online, foregoing lines and crowds, has made Black Friday shopping just one option for holiday shoppers.

ADI also noted in a statement last month that it expects American consumers to prefer shopping online more on this year's Thanksgiving weekend to avoid "the stress and strain that take place during the holidays".

The National Retail Federation said total sales were expected to rise this holiday season by 3.6 per cent to $655.8 billion due to increase in online buying. "If it were up to me, I would be in my pajamas and on my computer at home".

Most large retailers post their Black Friday ads, coupons, and offers online beforehand to give shoppers time to see what they have to offer, and to plan their shopping strategy.

Consumer group Which? said shoppers have realised that the best way of finding new deals is to track changing prices online.

Black Friday 2016 is nearly here. CTV's Chief Financial Commentator Pattie Lovett-Reid has more.

In general, many are offering the same deals in their brick-and-mortar stores as online, and they're pushing them even earlier this year for online shoppers. And, some retailers are already celebrating, with Target's CEO saying on Thursday evening that Thanksgiving may be the retailer's biggest online shopping day of all time. She said she prefers in-store shopping because she likes to be able to pick up items and see them.

"I'm a point-and-click person", she said.

Cars filled parking spaces at Cross Creek Mall around 7:30 a.m., but only a few stores had snake-like lines of customers at their registers. "We started last night with the Walmart thing".

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In Maysville, Stacey Miller, has been Black Friday shopping for more than 10 years.

Across the retail industry, advertisements were being released of the biggest bargains two to three days earlier in 2016 than a year ago, showed a report released by an online company that tracks retail and social media sites amongst others.

Ellison said in an interview this morning that the company has had a good start with record mobile traffic and sales, and no website interruptions while taking on a lot of new volume.

"(Friday) morning we hit the mall before 6 a.m.

In Virginia, Dana Sari says she prefers buying gifts from online catalogues and boutique retailers rather than larger corporations, which she says value her less as a customer.

She said she always likes to walk and go to the mall. "I like to do early shopping".

That online sales tally marked a 13.6 percent increase over last year's holiday, according to data from Adobe Systems, which analyzed data from 21 billion visits to retail Web sites.

Discount stores, grocery stores and clothing stores round out the top five shopping stops. On Thanksgiving Day, folks spent $1.9 billion on online deals, according to Adobe, up 12% from past year.

The federation, the nation's largest retail group, expects holiday sales to rise 3.6 percent for this month and next month, better than the 3 percent growth seen for those months past year. That excludes auto sales, gas and restaurant receipts. Stores like JCPenney and Kohl's began promoting Black Friday sales prices online earlier this week.