HOUSTON, TEXAS – NOVEMBER 26: People shop in The Galleria mall during Black Friday on November 26, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
UPDATED 12:04 PM PT – Saturday, November 27, 2021
The holiday shopping season is back in action and people all across the country hit the stores for the best Black Friday deals. Although typically the busiest in-store shopping day of the year, Black Friday looked a little bit different this time around.
Usually stores and malls become flooded with shoppers looking for the best deals on just about anything, but this year amid a new coronavirus variant on the rise and the country’s supply shortages, the post-Thanksgiving holiday seemed almost normal.
“Previously, Black Friday was king, it was our busiest shopping day of the year. We anticipate that to be true this year as well. However, we did see shoppers start earlier in the season, even end of October. I think you’ve seen some Black Friday sales starting a couple of weeks ago,” said Stefanie Cicerello, the marketing manager at Capital Mall.
While some shopping centers were seen with long lines, many stores reported decent-sized crowds and noted lines were significantly shorter than in pre-pandemic years. Additionally, with Black Friday deals starting as early as October this year, in-store and online sales were up 12.1 percent Friday morning. This, according to “Mastercard SpendingPulse.”
An American holiday known for its crazy war-like shopping experience didn’t live up to its standard for those visiting the U.S. this year.
“I was shocked. I really thought I’ll come in the morning and have to wait maybe an hour or two, which I won’t wait, but when I came and got the free entry, I was really surprised,” said Rony Amid, who was visiting from Israel.
Despite Black Friday being different due to unavoidable factors like staffing shortages and a new COVID variant, the National Retail Federation said it expects overall holiday sales to grow this year.
Furthermore, while things may not have been as affordable this year, many were still excited to be able to go back to stores in person to find the best bargains for the holiday season. Shopper Tami Thorsell said this year she set out to buy from small businesses in order to help keep those stores in afloat.