More shoppers should brave the cold for Black Friday door busters this year — but most of the sales growth will be thanks to virtual shopping carts, analysts said Tuesday.
"For the retailers I cover, very few are adding stores this year," Morgan Stanley analyst Jay Sole told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street." "Most are actually in store-closure mode."
Sole said Black Friday should be "decent," with a 1 percent uptick in total shoppers out this weekend compared with last year, and an 8 percent year-over-year rise in shoppers on Cyber Monday. But Raymond James analyst Aaron Kessler said he's expecting 15 percent growth in e-commerce this year.
Not only is more shopping online, it's mobile. Data firm App Annie estimates that consumers will log into shopping apps at least 10 times or more during the week of Thanksgiving, and spend about 20 minutes in those apps.
"We've seen a lot of retailers give very competitive free shipping offers, obviously, low pricing," Kessler said. "I think increasingly, though, the e-commerce season has lengthened. It is not just about Black Friday or Cyber Monday, it's actually through the whole quarter up until Christmas Day."
Kessler projects Amazon will see 28 to 30 percent revenue growth for the quarter. Meanwhile, Sole said, the most successful retailers are expanding into new lines of business, rather than just focusing on adding new stores.
"Obviously, foot traffic migrating online is a big issue," Sole said. "Forty-eight percent of consumers will do at least part of their shopping online."
Sole said he sees experiential items like concert tickets and art classes as popular gifts this year.
"The key for brands is just to make sure they can be online and present where consumers are shopping today, and that way they can manage the transition from brick and mortar to online," Sole said.
Disclosure: Morgan Stanley and its affiliates have a significant financial interest in the debt securities of Hanesbrands. Raymond James makes a market in shares of Amazon and eBay.