Is Thanksgiving set to become the biggest retail day of the year?

We’ve already already covered Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the upcoming holiday season – but one day in particular is slowly becoming the most buzzed-about shopping day of the year.

Have you heard? It’s Thanksgiving Day.

“Thanksgiving creep” is not a new concept – it refers to the recent trend of Black Friday sales events “creeping” onto Thanksgiving Day. The sales that used to start at 5am on Friday morning gradually moved to 12 a.m., then 8 p.m. the night before – and this year, retailers like Target, Macy’s, and Wal-Mart are opening as early as 6 p.m. on Thursday.

The logic is clear for retailers, as starting sales on Thursday can provide an edge over the competition; if shoppers are willing to line up to enter stores on Friday, providing an option to start even earlier is bound to bring eager deal-hunters to the door.

Opinions are split over this tactic, however. For instance, there has been backlash from those who say Thanksgiving should be a day for family. Others have questioned whether the tactic of moving Black Friday sales earlier and earlier will eventually backfire. If Black Thursday is the new Black Friday, when will post-Thanksgiving sales turn into pre-Thanksgiving sales?

Much like flash sale websites, the draw of Black Friday is the idea that there is a finite quantity of sale items and a limited window in which to purchase. And yet, retailers like Wal-Mart and Targetare already using online sales channels as a way to make Black Friday a weeklong affair – will this take away from profits as customers lose the sense of urgency to buy?