Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday crowds continue decline

A new survey by PwC finds the steady decline in Black Friday shopping continues this year, a trend reflected in Thanksgiving-day crowds at some shopping centers across the D.C. area.

PwC found in 2019, only 36 percent of shoppers will shop on Black Friday, compared to 59 percent in 2015. The same survey also found that for the first time shoppers say they will do most of their holiday shopping online.

In years past, big-box stores like Best Buy would be swamped with crowds even on Thanksgiving night, but there was only a calm but steady stream of customers at the Best Buy in Columbia Heights.

Some shoppers still say there's something about shopping in person that draws them to stores even if they're surrounded by less company.

"I need to see physically," said shopper M.J. Karim.

Outlet shopping did seem to be busy on Thanksgiving with representatives from the Leesburg and Clarksburg outlets reporting full parking lots by 8 p.m.

The National Retail Federation still expects the Thanksgiving weekend to be a busy one. More than 165 million people are expected to shop between Thanksgiving day and Cyber Monday.