Nightly News   |  November 29, 2013

Nation swept up in Black Friday shopping frenzy

As millions descend on what retailers consider the most important day of the year, NBC’s John Yang reports on whether all those deals are as good as they seem.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> across this country tonight the it's as if someone announced we are in danger of running out of stuff and those who need stuff better buy it now because it is going away forever. it is that day on the yearly calendar when people in recovery from thanksgiving head out to be part of a massive crowd streaming through malls and stores, in some cases whipped into a crazed, violent frenzy. however much web retailing has taken hold in this country forever, today was devoted to old-fashioned shopping from one end of the country to the other. here is the scene live at the mall of america in minnesota and the park meadows mall outside of denver. then there is john yang in chicago to start us off. good evening.

>> reporter: good evening, brian. early indications are that the big box store strategy of opening earlier on thursday may have paid off for them. but is it working out for shoppers? [ cheers ]

>> reporter: this year, the bargain hunters came in waves, starting thursday.

>> happy thanksgiving!

>> reporter: into today leaving some shoppers exhausted, others invigorated.

>> keep calm and go shopping.

>> yeah!

>> reporter: on youtube amateur videos show black friday shopping can be a contact sport.

>> this idea that other consumers might be getting a deal or getting a sale or paying less money for something we also want to buy is a very motivating factor.

>> reporter: early numbers suggest a strong start. 97 million americans said they planned to shop today, up from 89 million last year. between 6:00 and 10:00 p.m . last night walmart said it had more than 10 million cash register transactions. 2.8 million towels, 2 million televisions, 1.9 million dolls.

>> it seems like the shoppers started with electronics at the big box stores, moved to apparel at the department stores as the day wore from thursday to friday.

>> the deals were good. i had 50% off of everything i bought. you can't get these deals anywhere except for black friday.

>> reporter: analysts say, buyer beware . were these products designed to sell at this price?

>> absolutely. retailers are planning year round what to sell, working with manufacturers.

>> reporter: according to macy's is promoting a blender for $26.94. it sold for almost $7 less during their veterans day sale. kmart is advertising a 60-inch tv for $799.99, the same price as the labor day sale. in response, macy's says it has compelling promotions throughout the year. kmart says they offer great deals not just on one day. for some it is as much about excitement as deals. outside miami, 18-year-old amanda lopez hit the mall with friends.

>> i got mama's credit card . i'm going to rack it up. this is the first time i do this. so it should be a great experience.

>> reporter: analysts say in-store deals are also available online without the crowds and without the temptation of impulse buys that the aren't on sale. brian?

>> john yang starting us off in chicago tonight . thanks.