The shoppers are coming in waves after some retailers opened their doors for Black Friday on Thanksgiving.
A spokeswoman at Mall of America in Minneapolis says 30,000 people showed up for the mall's midnight opening -- compared with 20,000 last year. Julie Hansen says stores that didn't participate in the midnight opening last year learned a lesson.
About 11,000 shoppers lined up around Macy's in New York City when it opened at midnight. That's up from an estimated 9,000 to 10,000 shoppers who showed up for the store's midnight opening last year.
Some of the stores that opened on Thanksgiving were Target and Toys R Us.
The earlier hours are an effort by stores to make shopping as convenient as possible for Americans, fearing they won't spend as freely during the holiday season because of economic uncertainty.
There's added pressure on brick-and-mortar stores as more Americans shop on websites that offer cheap prices and the convenience of being able to buy something from smartphones, laptops and tablet computers.
The National Retail Federation estimates overall sales in November and December will rise 4.1 percent this year to over $586 billion. But according to Forrester Research, the online part is expected to rise 15 percent to over $68 billion.
113-w-33-(Sagar Meghani (SAH'-gur meh-GAH'-nee), AP correspondent, with shoppers Morgan Smith and Ashley Streight)--They may not have school or work today, but for many, it's not a day for sleeping in -- not with deals waiting to be had. AP correspondent Sagar Meghani reports on some shoppers in search of Black Friday bargains. (23 Nov 2012)
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107-a-03-(Ashley Streight (strayt), Black Friday shopper, in AP interview)-"before we started"-Shopper Ashley Streight says Black Friday is like a marathon. (23 Nov 2012)
<<CUT *107 (11/23/12)>> 00:03 "before we started"
106-a-09-(Ashley Streight (strayt), Black Friday shopper, in AP interview)-"along the way"-Shopper Ashley Streight says even after shopping for nine hours, she and her family weren't done yet. (23 Nov 2012)
<<CUT *106 (11/23/12)>> 00:09 "along the way"
APPHOTO NCKIN101: Eager Black Friday shoppers file into J.C. Penney at the Vernon Park Mall in Kinston, N.C.,Friday, Nov. 23, 2012. Black Friday, the day when retailers traditionally turn a profit for the year, actually got a jump start this year as many stores opened just as families were finishing up Thanksgiving dinner. Stores are experimenting with ways to compete with online rivals like Amazon.com that can offer holiday shopping deals at any time and on any day. (AP Photo/Daily Free Press, Zach Frailey) (23 Nov 2012)
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APPHOTO WIWES102: Rory Binkowski, of West Bend, carries a collection of items while waiting in line to check out at Menards, early Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, in West Bend, Wis., as part of Black Friday. (AP Photo/West Bend Daily News, John Ehlke) (23 Nov 2012)
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APPHOTO MIFLI102: A woman talks on her cellphone next to the entrance of Target just minutes before the start of a Black Friday sales event in Flint, Mich. on Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012.Black Friday, the day when retailers traditionally turn a profit for the year, actually got a jump start this year as many stores opened just as families were finishing up Thanksgiving dinner. Stores are experimenting with ways to compete with online rivals like Amazon.com that can offer holiday shopping deals at any time and on any day. (AP Photo/The Flint Journal, Griffin Moores) (22 Nov 2012)
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APPHOTO ORPOR103: Siceived discount cards. Many of the mall's stores opened at midnight for their Black Friday sales. (AP Photo/The Oregonian, Randy L. Rasmussen) (22 Nov 2012)
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