The traditionally busy shopping season from Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. to Cyber Monday has looked quite a bit different in 2020.
The Associated Press reports the COVID-19 pandemic kept in-person Black Friday shopping crowds thin, but a surge in online shopping offered a glimmer of hope for many.
In-person traffic on Black Friday dropped more than 52 percent compared to 2019 levels, CNBC reports.
E-commerce shopping on Thanksgiving hit a new high, with sales in excess of $5 billion, up more than 21 percent compared to 2019 levels, according to Adobe Analytics, which measures online sales for 80 of the top 100 U.S. online retailers.
The company says Black Friday 2020 was the second-biggest online shopping day in U.S. history, behind only Cyber Monday in 2019. Adobe Analytics expects this year’s Cyber Monday sales to be even greater than last year, making it potentially the single busiest online shopping day in U.S. history.
Amid social distancing protocols and a trend toward online shopping, the National Retail Federation (NRF) expects retail sales in November and December to grow by roughly 3.6 percent and 5.2 percent over 2019, respectively. On average, holiday sales have grown by 3.5 percent over the past five years.
“We think there’s going to be a psychological factor that [shoppers] owe it to themselves and their families to have a better-than-normal holiday,” says NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz.