Black Friday 2013: Thanksgiving now a key shopping day for many retailers

(CNN) - Black Friday has long reigned above every holiday shopping day on the calendar; a benchmark for all retailers to look toward. However, as a new generation of consumers moves in, a new shopping calendar seems to be emerging.

While Thanksgiving Thursday isn't the new Black Friday - yet - retailers expect to bring in a whole lot of green on turkey day in 2013.

And, leading the charge for this trend, are young shoppers.

"Milennials and young adults have really been the ones leading the way for this Thanksgiving night shopping tradition," National Retail Federation spokeswoman Kathy Grannis sid. "It's a lot easier for people this age to ditch the dishes."

Grannis said that 35 million people made their way out to stores or shopped online on Thanksgiving night, and most retailers expect that number to jump this year. While it's still a fraction of the 97 million shoppers expected to turn out on Black Friday, an increasing number of retailers are acknowledging the earlier kickoff.

Retail experts say that online shopping have eased the burden on brick-and-mortar stores. The NRF says that more thank half of the major stores in America will post their Thanksgiving specials online.

"You may not have to sleep outside the doorstep of your favorite store anymore," senior editor Trae Bodge said. "The turf is changing and retailers are making it more convenient for the consumer to shop in the way that works best for them."

Analysts expect nearly 80 percent of American retailers to offer special on Cyber Monday this year.