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Once-enormous Black Friday lines are shrinking. Photo: Hector Mata/AFP/Getty

Americans are spendings less and less money in brick-and-mortar stores during the run-up to the holidays, shunning the crazy lines they once formed outside big-box stores on Black Friday.

The big picture: Shoppers plan to spend 57% of their budgets online but just 36% in physical stores, per a new Deloitte survey. Just 44% of shoppers say they will shop on Black Friday as much as in past holiday seasons, while 53% say they will rely on Cyber Monday as much as they have in the past.

The big picture: For many Americans, the idea of one big shopping spree coinciding with a work holiday is fading, yet at the same time they have higher holiday budgets.

  • The average shopper plans to spend $525 on gifts — 20% more than the average $430 in 2017.

The steady decline of Black Friday is a victim of online shopping for gifts, says Rod Sides, the head of retail at Deloitte.

  • E-commerce is saving customers several trips to the mall, allowing them to shop 24/7 — and from anywhere. "Five years ago, mobile commerce was in the teens," Sides says.
  • This year, Deloitte found that 67% of online shoppers will make purchases on their phones.
  • Brick-and-mortar stores also are realizing they can earn more money by extending Black Friday deals for a week or longer, Sides adds.

But e-commerce giants are not the only ones profiting from this sea change. Traditional retailers — especially clothes shops — are still making a killing before Christmas, but the bulk of their sales are moving to the web, according to Deloitte.

The bottom line: One reason e-commerce thrives during the holidays is that gift shopping is often easier online, according to Sides. "If I'm buying for folks in my extended family, I don't know what size they wear anyway. So I might as well buy online and take my best guess."

Go deeper

"Atmospheric river" to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood

A map depicting 24-hour preciptation forecast (inches) ending Monday at 5a.m. local time. Photo: NOAA

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are set dump historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.

Obama stumps for McAuliffe, urges Virginians not "to go back to the chaos"

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama framed a Nov. 2 gubernatorial race as a bellwether for the Democratic Party and the country, telling a crowd at a campaign event for Terry McAuliffe on Saturday that "I believe you, right here in Virginia, are going to show the rest of the country and the world that we're not going to indulge in our worst instincts."

Why it matters: With just over a week to go before Election Day in the Commonwealth, McAuliffe is bringing out the big guns. The 44th president appeared on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University to urge supporters to get to the polls.