Chaos as shoppers force their way into a Game store in Canal Walk. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)
Washington - Black Friday is expected to be the busiest shopping day of the year. That's driven by in-store foot traffic and online sales, especially in a year when analysts broadly expect record-breaking holiday spending.

Before you fight the crowds for that new TV, here are five things to know:

1. The annual shopping extravaganza has changed. Retailers don't wait for Black Friday to start knocking down prices. Take Amazon.com's Countdown to Black Friday, which began Nov. 1. Or Kohl's, which started online sales last year on the Monday of Thanksgiving week. In sum, Black Friday is still America's favourite day to shop. But the deals start way earlier.

2. Not all Black Friday shopping happens in stores. Black Friday is expected to drive $5.9 billion in online sales - a 17.2 percent jump from last year, according to data engine Adobe Analytics.

3. You may find the best Black Friday deals on big-ticket electronics. Adobe predicts savings of 16 percent on computers, 33 percent on tablets and 22 percent on televisions, compared with the rest of the holiday season.

4. But do people actually save money on Black Friday? According to one analysis of sneaker prices on Black Friday, the aura is the stuff of myth. Danish researcher and sneaker expert Jens Jakob Andersen found 99 percent of all sneakers are actually cheaper any other day of the year.

5. What pulls people out of their homes (or beds) the day after Thanksgiving to shop? Emotion. Even when shoppers can score deals online, they turn out to stores in droves for the rush and nostalgia of what it means to shop on Black Friday.

The Washington Post