Black Friday 2021 shopping was way down on previous years

Last minute seasonal shopper begins online shopping at laptop
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Retail stores in the US saw Black Friday traffic decrease by more than a quarter (28.3%) compared to the pre-pandemic period, new research has claimed.

A report from Sensormatic Solutions says American consumers are increasingly turning towards digital channels for shopping for various reasons, all linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. These include shut-down stores, fears of catching the new omicron variant, or supply chain disturbances that result in half-empty shelves and late arrivals. 

On Thanksgiving day, visits to brick-and-mortar stores “cratered” 90.4%, CNBC added, as key retailers such as Target, Walmart, or Best Buy, kept their stores closed over the holidays. 

Online spending flat

Things aren’t looking a lot better online, either. On e-commerce sites, consumers spent $8.9 billion on Black Friday, a little less compared to the $9 billion spent a year ago, Adobe Analytics’ data has shown. According to Adobe’s report, this is the first time ever that growth pulled back, compared to the year before. 

Thanksgiving day saw US consumers spend $5.1 billion online, pretty much flat compared to the same period last year. For Cyber Monday, which is today, Adobe forecasts e-commerce sales between $10.2 billion and $11.3 billion.

Covid-19’s disruption of the supply chain is really being felt this year, Adobe further suggested, finding that out-of-stock messages on retail websites spiked 124% compared to two years ago. It’s mostly appliances, electronics, housekeeping supplies, and home and garden items, that are out of stock.

Still, the outlook for the entire holiday season seems to be positive, CNBC claims. The US National Retail Federation expects holiday sales during November and December to rise between 8.5% and 10.5% ($843.4 billion and $859 billion) which, if happens, would set a record for year-on-year growth. 

Some Black Friday deals are still active, so if you're still on the lookout for bargains, make sure to check out our Black Friday deals hub.


Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.