What will Black Friday shopping look like (again) this year

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In a pre-pandemic world, Black Friday has long been the day for successful shopping deals and crowds are rushing to take advantage of it. But the pandemic has changed so many things, including the way we buy, and has had a significant effect on the entire supply chain of goods and services, from shipping delays to worker shortages and a reduced supply of goods. While some things have started to look like they were before the pandemic, including an economic rebound, holiday shopping will continue to be different from previous years. Experts have weighed in on how Black Friday has changed since the start of the pandemic.

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Spending is on the rise, but consumer confidence is on the decline

Although the economy was seriously affected during the pandemic, it has rebounded in many ways, especially for middle to high income earners, said Jonathan Silver, Founder and CEO of Affinity Solutions, which tracks buying habits. of consumers. This means that while spending is actually up, consumer confidence is down.

This is because consumer confidence “is likely driven by lower income groups,” Silver said. “Higher income groups are less affected. They have a lot of money. And therefore, “there is pent-up demand among people who have money. “

This drop in consumer confidence, coupled with higher overall spending, “highlights the income inequality issues that exist,” he said. But that won’t be reflected in people spending less money on Black Friday overall. It’s just that the people who spend will be in the higher income brackets.

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Start shopping earlier

Black Friday is officially the day after Thanksgiving, but in reality Silver said, “We are certainly seeing an early start to the holiday shopping season, especially on electronics, but not limited to.” He cites the National Retail Federation’s estimate that 49% of holiday shoppers will start shopping for gifts before Thanksgiving, up from 42% in 2020.

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Less worry about discounts

In fact, people so far seem less motivated by a discount, he said. “What’s interesting about the inflation front is that it hasn’t resulted in spending cuts.” Consumers are more resilient when it comes to spending, and they’re not as price sensitive as one might expect. “They often buy now closer to full price, without having to use a discount or coupon. “

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Black Friday won’t be just a day

Black Friday is just one day away, said John Atencio, owner of fine jewelry retailer John Atencio, and the pandemic has ensured it will likely stay that way. “Last year, when we were in the middle of a pandemic, people were forced to buy most things online or have curbside pickup. With this, people started to discover a new way of shopping, much less stressful. Retailers took notice and started running deals days, if not weeks, before Black Friday.

Additionally, with supply chain tightening making some items less available, he said customers are more likely to purchase items now, hoping to receive them in time for the holidays.

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Online shopping will remain stable

In fact, according to Fred Goff, CEO of Jobcase, a social platform that advocates for workers and surveyed 2,000 U.S. consumers and merchants, 78% of consumers surveyed are more likely to shop online this year than before. the pandemic. And 59% reported that the pandemic has affected the way they do their vacation shopping. “Of those who shop earlier, more are doing it to get rid of it,” he said, rather than concerns about the backlog in the supply chain.

The National Retail Federation also predicts that online and other non-store sales will see an increase of between 11% and 15% (for a total of $ 218.3 billion to $ 226.2 billion), especially thanks to online shopping.

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But there will also be more in-store purchases

While online shopping is here to stay, there are signs that people are ready to return to stores, according to Harriet Chan, co-founder and chief marketing officer of CocoFinder. She said: “Black Friday shopping this year will see the return of in-store shopping after last year’s pandemic.” However, she stressed, companies will always rely heavily on online channels to communicate their offers to potential customers.

“As a shopper, you may want to explore online deals first before you can visit a physical store this Black Friday. The dynamic nature of online stores makes them ideal for anyone looking to save money. Money Many ecommerce sites now use dynamic pricing tools that help personalize the offer for each customer.

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Some products will be cheaper due to a larger supply

This is the year to buy health and wellness products and work / study from home products, said Vipin Porwal, founder and consumer expert at Smarty. “Current stocks are saturated by the pandemic, so the prices of these items can drop as much as 50%.”

Don’t wait for offers

Supply chain issues are a real concern. According to Jay Klauminzer, CEO of Raise, a discounted gift card app. “Due to supply chain issues and shipping delays this year, I recommend consumers do not wait until the late November and December sales to purchase gifts, if they need them to arrive before the holidays. . ” He suggests maximizing savings by purchasing the items you know you need right now, especially gadgets, toys, holiday themed items, and even groceries for holiday meals. “This year, Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday will be better options for consumers looking for items for themselves or their family, with more flexibility as to when items are due to arrive. “

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About the Author

Jordan Rosenfeld is a freelance writer and author of nine books. She holds a BA from Sonoma State University and an MFA from Bennington College. His articles and essays on finance and other topics have appeared in a wide range of publications and clients including The Atlantic, The Billfold, Good Magazine, GoBanking Rates, Daily Worth, Quartz, Medical Economics, The New York Times, Ozy, Paypal, The Washington Post and for many business customers. As someone who has had to learn a lot of her lessons about money the hard way, she enjoys writing about personal finance to empower and educate people on how to make the most of what they have and how to get on with it. a better quality of life.

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