Millions expected to shop on Black Friday amid busy holiday season

·2 min read

Facing potential supply shortages, many retailers started their holiday sales in October and have made Black Friday a weeklong event.

Experts predict a new record in spending over the holiday season. More than 108 million people plan to shop in stores or online on Black Friday, according to the National Retail Federation.

Stores across the country were greeted with lines of eager shoppers looking for the best Black Friday deals.  

Margot Sage-EL, the owner of Watchung Booksellers in Montclair, New Jersey, told CBS News' Meg Oliver that she struggled to stay open during the COVID-19 pandemic. She has seen business pick up as many of her customers have returned to shop in person.

"So we used to ignore Black Friday. But 10 years ago, we said, 'You know what? We're going to embrace Black Friday,' and we called it Festivus Friday. So it has become a really strong day for us and a fun day," Sage-EL said.

While she is not sure what the "it" book will be this year, Sage-EL said she and her team are planning to keep shelves stocked throughout the holidays.

"We are concerned about the last, massive two-week rush and having enough product because of the supply chain. So we have been encouraging people to shop early, and they are," said Sage-EL.

According to the National Retail Federation, about 60% of shoppers said they have already begun their holiday shopping as many stores have tried to entice shoppers to start spending early with sales.

"They have been offering their deals earlier and earlier. A couple of years ago, we were talking about Black November. Now we're seeing Black Friday deals starting in October and really in those weeks leading up to Thanksgiving," said Katherine Cullen, senior director of industry and consumer insights for the National Retail Federation's research team.

According to Cullen, holiday sales during November and December are predicted to grow up to 10.5% over 2020 and consumers will spend up to $859 billion, setting records for both growth and total amount spent. Individual consumers said they plan to spend about $1,000 total this holiday season.

A National Retail Federation survey found that in-person shopping is up more than 14% this year and about 160 million people said they plan to shop this Thanksgiving weekend, which includes Cyber Monday.

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