An Iowa State University expert says “Black Friday” has become a “holiday” unto itself and it’s difficult for on-line retailers to compete. Ron Prescott — a small business and retail specialist for Iowa State University Extension, says there’s just something about standing in line for a bargain.

“Some of these door-buster deals are really, really good and you just have a difficult time — Amazon or whoever — has a difficult time in matching that experience and it does come down to, in some cases, the experience,” Prescott says. “There’s just people who love to shop on Black Friday.”

Prescott expects participation in “Black Friday” events will be up this year, because people are more bargain conscious.

“More and more, as we’ve seen since 2009, people are really trying to stretch their dollar and they’re using more coupons and they’re doing more comparative analysis on the internet,” Prescott says. “And so there’s a lot of folks that, before they go out and buy a big-ticket item, they’re going to spend some time researching.”

Prescott has predicted Iowa retailers will see a four percent increase in holiday sales this year compared to last, but he also says the “holiday sales” period has expanded, as a National Retail Federation survey found over 22 percent of Americans began their holiday shopping in October.

“Really, a lot of the Christmas shopping, a lot of that Christmas budget, has been already spent,” Prescott says. “…Some of us bemoan the fact that Christmas is getting longer and longer, but the fact of it is that consumers appreciate that in the long run, so they can stretch their dollars.”

The National Retail Federation estimates the average shopper will spend almost $750 this holiday season.