axios.com/black-friday-2021-a8af9519-f12f-42b7-8d9e-b5c22363fead.html

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.
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