Black Friday sales shift online

More shoppers using mobile devices
Black Friday sales shift online

Black Friday is the traditional kickoff to holiday shopping, but the way that shoppers check gifts off that list has changed.

One-third of holiday shopping will be done online, and one-third of that shopping will be done on mobile devices, according to Madison College business and marketing instructor Betty Hurd.

Companies including Target are reaching out to those customers by offering free shipping.

According to Hurd, lines and crowds at the brick-and-mortar stores may not be the same as in the past, but sales will still be there.

“More so, it deals with convenience for some folks,” Hurd said. “So if weather is not conducive to shopping or if gas prices were extremely high and (if shoppers have) having to drive and park and do all of that stuff, the online component really levels the playing field and opens up the opportunity for more people to still shop, and so sales are there.”

The most sought-after items this year are expected to be electronics and toys. Toys related to the movie “Frozen” will also be big this holiday season.

Hurd said 60 percent of shoppers will be  looking for clothing and jewelry.

Online shoppers should be careful, though, according to CNET.com.

Tips to remember:

1. If a deal shows up in your email, make sure it is not spam.

2. Don’t click on links within the email in case it is a phishing scam.

3. Try a virtual credit card number. It can cost $5 per month, but it can protect your real credit card information.

“If the card number gets stolen by thieves, you don’t have to worry about having additional charges run up on it because they can’t charge anything to it. And you don’t have to worry about sending your actual credit card across the Internet,” said Seth Rosenblatt, senior writer for CNET.com.

Services like Apply Pay and PayPal also offer extra protection to consumers.