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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Americans are itching to get back into their holiday traditions this year — including the traditional post-Thanksgiving shopping blitz.

Why it matters: Black Friday and Cyber Monday aren't the seismic economic and cultural events they used to be, and supply-chain issues have put a damper on things this year, but retailers expect shoppers to come back after a year of isolation — and to spend big.

  • The feeling of wanting to make up for last year is “an important motivator right now,” Katherine Cullen, a senior director at the National Retail Federation, tells Axios. 

By the numbers: About 158 million people are expected to shop in stores or online between now and the end of the day Monday, according to an NRF survey conducted earlier this month.

  • That's roughly 2 million more people than partook in post-Thanksgiving shopping last year, but 7 million lower than the same weekend in 2019.

Yes, but: Retailers still expect a big boost in overall sales, because more people plan to spend more.

  • In a separate study from the NPD Group, 34% of shoppers say they plan to spend more and to buy more gifts because of family and social get togethers.

The big picture: Black Friday lost its literal meaning years ago as sales days multiplied earlier in the year.

  • Holiday shopping started especially early this year as stores and brands warned people to get ahead of any inventory issues caused by supply chain delays.
  • Major retailers, including Amazon, Target, Walmart and Best Buy, also started running Black Friday promotions and price pledges as early as October.

What to watch: Of those planning to shop tomorrow, 64% (69.1 million) say they are likely to go into a store, up from 51% last year, according to the NRF.

  • That lines up with the NPD Group's findings: Nearly six out of ten people say they feel comfortable shopping in person following wider distribution of vaccines.

Go deeper

Hope King, author of Closer
Jan 14, 2022 - Economy & Business

Record level consumer demand drops as high prices surge

Data: FRED; Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios

Record levels of consumer demand are petering out as high prices cut into wages and add to household worries.

Why it matters: Shoppers will hold off on buying if goods get too expensive — a trend that if big enough could slow down economic growth.

Updated 5 mins ago - Science

Volcanic eruption in Tonga caused "significant" damage

This satellite image of the eruption on Jan. 15 taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite operated by Japan Meteorological Agency and released by National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT). Photo: NICT via AP

Significant damage has been reported in Tonga following an undersea volcanic eruption on Saturday, which covered the Pacific nation in ash and cut off communication lines.

Driving the news: The eruption triggered tsunami warnings across Tonga's islands and in other regions, including the West Coast of the U.S. and New Zealand.

18 mins ago - World

North Korea launches 4th suspected missile test this month

A news broadcast in Seoul, South Korea, of an apparent North Korean missile test on Monday morning local time. Photo: Jung Yeon-je/AFP via Getty Images

North Korea's military fired "two suspected short-range ballistic missiles" eastward from Pyongyang on Monday morning local time, per South Korean and Japanese officials.

Why it matters: The fourth such launch since Jan. 5 comes days after North Korea's military warned of "stronger" action if the U.S. moved to have more sanctions imposed on the country.