TAMPA (FOX 13) - Wendy Brown hit the road at 1:30 a.m. to start looking for big sales. She found a bunch at Tampa Premium Outlets, which just opened near the Pasco Hillsborough County line about a month a ago.
"I love to shop," Brown told FOX 13.
And shop she did. She took advantage of massive discounts, and went home a happy woman.
Brown grabbed a purse she describes as"fancy schmancy" for $18. It would normally sell for $75.
She was thrilled over what she nabbed Ann Taylor, a $35 shirt for half price.
But her buy of the day was a tank top.
It's Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. This year, you might say it was more of a Gray Friday. For whatever reason, the crowds did not seem to be as big or rowdy as they have been in previous years.
Retails experts say several reasons are behind the shrinking of Black Friday, one of the biggest being online shopping.
According to the Adobe Digital Index, more than $1-billion was spent by online shoppers on Thanksgiving alone. That's 22 percent more than last year, which indicates that Cyber Monday could become the go-to shopping day for Americans.
Expanded hours for stores and Thanksgiving shopping also contributes to the slide in Black Friday crowds. That's what Bay area shoppers noticed Friday.
"Honestly I don't go out on Thanksgiving night. I think you should stay at home with your family. But when I got here this morning it was actually pretty dead," said Andrea Hrinn.
It didn't stop the diehards from hitting road as the rest of the world slept.
"Right now, we're having a crazy warm winter because of El Nino," she said. What better deal than a $3.50 shirt!"
Many brand name retailers are giving across the board discounts. The Gap is giving at least 50% off everything in the store. On top of that, shoppers get an additional 25% off their entire purchase.