PhotoWe report year after year that Black Friday is not necessarily the best day for holiday shopping deals. It seems more consumers are getting the message.

RetailNext, a brick-and-mortar retail analytics firm, has issued its forecast for the busiest holiday shopping days and Black Friday has fallen to third place, behind December 23 and December 17.

The company bases its forecast on two factors: anticipated foot traffic and sales. Black Friday is in third place on both lists.

Shelley Kohan, a RetailNext vice-president, says more retailers in recent years have opened on Thanksgiving Day, taking both sales and traffic from Black Friday.

"This year, with Christmas falling on a Sunday, most shoppers will want to cut short their shopping early on Saturday, December 24, leaving the day before, Friday, as retail's biggest opportunity for sales,” Kohan said. “For store visits, Super Saturday will lead the way, with Black Friday a very close second."

December will see the most shopping

According to the forecasts, the busiest holiday shopping days in terms of both sales and traffic are all in December, with the exception of Black Friday. That suggests that despite other data showing many consumers are already shopping, most consumers will either procrastinate or decide they will get the best deals closer to Christmas.

That may be causing retailers to become more aggressive in pricing their doorbuster specials for the big day. In recent years, these specials have become more numerous and attractive.

In its Black Friday deal forecast, says most of these Black Friday deals will also be found online, perhaps cutting into stores' foot traffic. This year it predicts 42-inch HDTV sets should go as low as $149 and larger models, up to 60 inches, could be priced as low as $279. There should also be attractive deals on 4K Ultra HD sets.

The forecast also has good news for gamers. Look for attractive holiday bundles for video game systems because, with no truly new systems this year, prices on existing models should drop sharply.

The best days for deals tend to vary year to year, but Black Friday usually isn't one of them. For retailers, they still have plenty of time and don't really want to give away the store with a month of shopping still ahead. And while you will find some really nice sales on Black Friday, other merchandise in the stores will go at its regular price.

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