You might be surprised to see the crowds at Houston-area stores for Black Friday

TEXAS CITY, Texas (KTRK) -- Black Friday isn't quite what it used to be across Houston.

Friday morning, instead of massive crowds and long lines, stores saw manageable crowds of dedicated shoppers.

Whether it's the cold weather, online shopping or stores' cut back hours, something has caused the crowds to fall over the years.

ABC13's Pooja Lodhia was at the Tanger Outlet Mall in Texas City, where shoppers got an early start when stores opened at 6 a.m.

The deals are still there, but the crowds were much lower than some might expect.



She spoke to a mother and daughter shopping duo who said the crowds seemed like a regular day during the holiday season, not Black Friday.

"It's not like the traditional pushing and shoving and large crowds, its just normal. Like normal, every day shopping," Ashley said. "And I'm sitting here thinking, where are the crowds?"

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The duo said, although they like the hustle and bustle of the traditional Black Friday experience, it has been nice seeing stores close on Thanksgiving and cut back their hours.

"The crowds are lower it seems like," Julie said. "It was nice though, in a way, this year, because we got to spend more time with the family and got to have a good night's rest. Because usually we start out at night, get home about 3 a.m., get three hours of sleep, and go out again."

Store managers at the Tanger Outlets said they expected crowds to pick up more throughout the day.



You don't have to be the first customer in the door to get the best deal.

Because of increased prices due to inflation and supply chain issues, it may still be tough to find that discount you wanted.

It's recommended you use your smartphone even when shopping in store, so you can compare prices, download store coupons, and see if the store's app may have a promo code.

Also, experts say you should consider cash back options. Many credit cards give rewards or use loyalty points, so paying with your credit card may pay off in the long run.

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Retailers are expected to usher in the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season Friday with bigger crowds than last year in a closer step toward normalcy.

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