How your Black Friday may look different in 2021

Published: November 26, 2021 10:19 AM EST
Updated: November 26, 2021 2:24 PM EST

While many retailers stayed closed this Thanksgiving, that will not be the case on Black Friday. Something to keep in mind while you’re out shopping today is that the sales are not going to be as good as they usually are, but there is still some good news.

Inflation rates are the highest they’ve been in around 30 years, based on average prices of things like gas, appliances and things consumers might buy as Christmas presents this year. All the recent supply chain issues could also mean less inventory, so getting where you need to shop on the early side is a good idea.

The good news for retailers? Experts say recent sales data suggests people are ready to spend this year, despite the higher prices.

“On recent retail sales, monthly numbers, it seems like consumers are ready to spend; in fact, they outperformed expectations despite the higher prices in the most recent month that we gathered retail sales numbers, so that’s really encouraging,” said Victor V. Claar, professor at Florida Gulf Coast University.

If you’re the kind of shopper who thrives on camping out for deals, you might have less of an adventure this year, as most stores have had their sales going since the previous week or earlier already. Luckily for the rest of us, it should mean fewer crowds for those out and about. We also saw a lot of big-box stores like Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Kohl’s and Macy’s closed on Thanksgiving Day—many more than in previous years—which could also shift some dynamics.

While all these changes might give us a different Black Friday than the one we’re used to, experts say they’re ultimately a win for customers and retailers alike.

“I think, in many ways, it makes it easier for people to get a head start on those Black Friday purchases,” Claar said. “And that’s really good, since holiday shopping season is coming up really, really quickly. And there’s still some uncertainty about the supply chain, so we’ve got to lock some things down before the day after Thanksgiving. I think that’s great all around. It’s good for retailers. And it’s good for your peace of mind.”