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Mall of America tries to entice young Black Friday shoppers with free Uber, Hulu

Uber and Hulu are part of the mall's tactics.
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The Mall of America is rolling out the red carpet for shoppers on Black Friday, with a series of incentives that appear to have young people in mind.

The megamall is closed on Thanksgiving, but will be throwing open its doors at 5 a.m. on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year.

And in what looks like an effort to entice younger people out of their warm beds to Bloomington in the darkness, it's offering free Uber rides to anyone coming to or leaving the mall that day.

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The coupon code MOAHOLIDAYS is valid for two trips, and gives you up to $20 off each ride.

But that's just one of the tactics.

If the premise of shivering in line outside the mall's North Entrance doesn't really float your boat, there will be help on hand in the form of a Hulu bus.

The TV streaming company is offering a break away from the line by providing a number of "ambassadors," who will hold your place in line while you go into the bus to warm up with some free hot chocolate.

It's to be expected there will be a reasonably long line at the mall's doors, not least because the Mall of America gives out gift cards ranging from $10 to $500 to the first 200 people in line.

There's competition for millennial shoppers

Extending the olive branch to young shoppers is perhaps not surprising given that research indicates millennials are among the most prolific Black Friday spenders.

Newsday reports Americans aged 18-24 lead the way in Black Friday shopping, with 73 percent taking advantage of the heavy discounts in 2015, followed by adults aged 35-44.

But Forbes reported last month on a new emerging trend that shows younger shoppers are willing to continue their holiday spending well into December, as more retailers are spreading out their discount deals over the holiday season.

This has contributed to a 24 percent drop in shopping on Black Friday itself between 2015 and 2017, according to this 2017 Holiday Spending report by Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC).

Malls should also be keeping in mind the next spending generation, Gen Z. According to PWC, shoppers aged 13-16 prefer in-store experiences over shopping online during the holidays, partly because decorations and lights generate a more festive experience.

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