Nov 27, 2021 - Economy

Black Friday in-store shopping up from 2020 but trails pre-pandemic levels

Shoppers carry their purchases during Black Friday shopping at Fashion Outlets of Chicago in Rosemont, Ill., on Nov. 26. Photo: Joel Lerner/Xinhua via Getty Images

More shoppers flocked to stores on Black Friday this year compared to last, but online shopping was lower than expected, according to data from Friday.

Driving the news: Online shopping was on the lower end of what was expected, largely because people had been ringing up their shopping carts earlier in the year in an effort to skirt potential supply chain issues, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index.

By the numbers: Black Friday foot traffic was up 48% over 2020, but still down 28% from 2019, according to a preliminary Sensormatic Solutions report.

  • Total online spending on Black Friday was around $8.9 billion, which is at the low end of Adobe’s predicted range and slightly lower than 2020, when total spending hit $9 billion, per Adobe.
  • In 2019, online spending on Black Friday reached $7.4 billion, per Adobe.

The big picture: This year marks the first time where both Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday "did not see an increase in online spending [year over year], another sign that consumers started to shift their spending to earlier in the season, responding to promotions and deals from retailers that started in October," Adobe said in a statement.

  • The National Retail Foundation predicted last month that holiday sales during November and December will grow between 8.5% and 10.5% over 2020, compared with an 8.2% growth during those same months in 2020.

What to watch: Adobe predicts that Cyber Monday will be the biggest online shopping day of 2021, with between $10.2 billion and $11.3 billion spent online.

Go deeper: Post-Thanksgiving shopping looks to make up for lost time

Axios' Hope King contributed reporting.

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to state that the data on Black Friday foot traffic was according to Sensormatic Solutions, not Mastercard.

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