Is Super Saturday the next Black Friday?

Even as people hunt Black Friday deals, some experts think the shopping extravaganza could soon be surpassed by an even bigger spending fest. Gird yourselves, consumers, for "Super Saturday."

This year that comes on December 20, five days before Christmas. Retail analytics group ShopperTrak predicts that more people could hit U.S. stores that day than the nearly 100 million who were expected to brave the crowds today on the traditional start of the holiday shopping season. The group also expects the day after Christmas, which in 2014 falls on a Friday, to top Black Friday in volume of sales.

Although some retailers reported brisk customer traffic, crowds appeared lighter than usual this year.

Several factors explain the diminishing importance of Black Friday. Many consumers seem tired of the hype and crazed atmosphere long associated with Black Friday sales, and are staying away.

Retailers are also offering discounts and sales gimmicks starting as early as November 1, reducing the need for shoppers to concentrate their bargain-hunting on a single day.

Analysts say many stores have found themselves caught up in the widening holiday shopping sale frenzy as the economy recovers, and are ending up joining the fray to keep up with their competitors' sales.

"They don't feel they can lose business, so they're going to do everything they can -- from earlier door busters, more hours," Howard Davidowitz, chairman of Davidowitz & Associates, a national retail consulting and investment banking firm, tells NorthJersey.com. "The result of everything they're doing is to make Black Friday less important.''

A fluke of the calendar could also curb spending today. Research firm IHS notes that roughly 10 million fewer people received a paycheck this Black Friday. Instead, many will get paid on "Cyber Monday," which follows the Thanksgiving day weekend and which this year falls on the first of the month.