’Tis the Season
Black Friday made a big comeback this year, with a record 197 million Americans flocking to stores over the holiday weekend, and sales hitting a record high of $9.12 billion. Close on its heels, Cyber Monday racked up another $11 billion, also a record. What a difference a few years can make.
It seems people are ready to crowd back into stores and there is lots of pent-up demand—even with some items already out of stock and hot toys like the Singing Elsa doll hard to find. At the Mall of America, shoppers started lining up at 4 PM on Thanksgiving, and 10,000 people poured into the mall before 7 AM the following day.
Apparently, consumers aren’t cutting back on spending this year, even with inflation. Some are falling back on their credit cards (not a great idea with interest rates rising). Others are relying on pay-over-time programs, a throwback to the department store installment plans that some of us remember from our youth. What’s old is new again, I suppose.
There are some potential dampeners on the shopping euphoria, however, as we head into the holiday season. With shipping costs high, many retailers are cutting back on free returns—pushing back on customers who like to order shoes and clothes in multiple sizes, try them on and send back the ones that don’t fit. And there are now rumors that more e-commerce merchants will do away with free shipping, too—wait ’til my family finds out!—but so far, that threat hasn’t materialized.
Hopefully, we won’t have a rail strike throwing a wrench into holiday deliveries, but as of this writing, it looks like Congress will take care of that threat.
In the meantime, it’s great to be looking forward to the return of other holiday traditions beyond the Black Friday frenzy. The Rockefeller Center tree is once again lit up in Midtown Manhattan, and the holiday train show is chugging its way around miniature New York City landmarks at the New York Botanical Garden. Before you know it, it’ll be time to watch the ball drop in Times Square.
Let’s make the remaining weeks of 2022 count before we start singing Auld Lang Syne.
Have a great weekend everybody!