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Black Friday is the biggest shopping holiday of the year, and it’s coming up fast. Not only will there be countless deals on the day after Thanksgiving itself, but brands and stores are offering up sale prices and specials all November long in celebration of the holiday season. But Black Friday is different for 2021 than it’s been in years past: Not only are the items topping wish lists different, but shopping preferences and delivery times are changing too. Get all of the info you need to nab your most-wanted picks and everything you need to gift here.
Article updated on November 3, 2021 at 12:30 p.m.
Please note all deals, product information and pricing is valid at the time of update but is subject to change.
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What Is Black Friday?
Black Friday is always the Friday immediately following Thanksgiving. It’s known as the busiest shopping day of the entire year in the United States, and stores often open up early and close late so everyone can grab what’s on their shopping lists. Retailers often offer their biggest discounts of the year or offer special benefits on Black Friday, especially as it’s prime time for holiday gift shopping.
Popular Black Friday categories include fashion, home and electronics, as well as feel-good essentials like mattress toppers for back pain or shoes for back pain. Beauty picks are always a highly-shopped category as well, such as anti-wrinkle neck creams. There is also the ever-growing popularity of CBD products, which can range from skincare to pain-relief solutions.
When Is Black Friday?
Black Friday is on November 26 in 2021, but only officially. “Black Friday always starts early, but this year, the holiday shopping bonanza is kicking off earlier than ever — more than a month sooner than usual,” CNN explains. More on this below.
What’s Different About This Black Friday?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Black Friday shopping will still be affected in multiple ways this year, as it was in 2020. Because of shipping delays and supply chain issues, many retailers are resorting to starting up their Black Friday deals early so shoppers can receive their orders with time to spare.
CNN explains and delves into the issues: “The problem is twofold: Retailers are struggling with their merchandise getting stuck on container ships transporting the goods because of congestion at ports. There’s also a shortage of workers needed to unload and transport the products from the ships to warehouses and distribution centers.”
Mashable also reports that retailers including “Walmart, Home Depot and IKEA have actually gone so far as to charter private cargo ships” to make sure they don’t run out of stock too quickly.
Some major retailers like Target and Best Buy even launched Black Friday deals in October this year. Target’s begun to advertise some deals as “Holiday Best” so shoppers know not to wait around for any lower markdowns. “Target’s enhanced Holiday Price Match Guarantee allows guests to price match items at Target through Dec. 24,” the company specified as well, just in case. (Yahoo)
Holiday spending is also expected to rise this year as well. “U.S. consumers will spend up to 9% more this holiday period compared to 2020,” according to CBS News. “What we might find with the Delta variant is that folks will perhaps spend more online versus in brick-and-mortar stores,” says Deloitte Vice Chairman Rod Sides.”
It’s also worth noting that Hanukkah begins the night of November 28 this year, so some shoppers will be buying gifts even earlier to hit that earlier holiday deadline.
What Is the Difference Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
“There’s little difference between Black Friday and Cyber Monday at this point,” Wirecutter explains, noting how sales often run all weekend now, especially online. While Cyber Monday, which is on November 29 this year, is usually more focused on online deals, retailers often offer up the same exact deals online on Black Friday as well so shoppers don’t need to wait to make the purchase.
The pandemic also means that many people may still prefer to shop online rather than in crowded stores this year, so items on retailers’ sites may end up out of stock even earlier than usual.
According to a new CreditCards.com poll, 65% of shoppers already bought, or plan to buy, most of their holiday gifts online this year, so retailers will likely take this into account when deciding Black Friday cyber offers and weekend deals.
Are Curbside and In-Store Pickup Still Common Options?
For shoppers who prefer to shop online and pick up an item in store rather than waiting for home delivery, there is good news. “Click-and-collect retail sales jumped from $36.48 billion in 2019 to $58.52 billion in 2020, a statistic surely accelerated by the pandemic,” Forbes explains. “Look for that number to continue rising during the 2021 holiday shopping season as we adjust for COVID safety procedures and make sure to accommodate the shopping habits that consumers have developed over the last 18 months.”
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