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Americans set new online Thanksgiving shopping record amid record-high inflation and skyrocketing prices

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Black Friday, which occurs the day after Thanksgiving, is considered the kickoff to the holiday shopping season. Many consider Black Friday the biggest shopping event of the year, when the majority of retailers offer big discounts on almost everything. During the holiday weekend, Americans spend billions of dollars to buy everything from apparel to electronics, and this year was not an exception.

Some well-known practices from the past have changed, though. To potentially attract more customers, an increasing number of retailers began to offer Black Friday discounts a day early. This is becoming a more common practice nowadays, and the trend is expected to continue in the future. In recent years, a growing number of consumers have switched from regular shopping to online shopping. This shift was additionally fueled by the pandemic, when many people opted for online shopping to avoid close-contact with other people and crowded settings.

According to an Adobe Analytics report, shoppers spent a total of $5.29 billion this Thanksgiving, which is a new record and 2.9% up year-over-year. This comes as a surprise to many since we are coping with the highest inflation in decades and skyrocketing prices on literally everything. What is even more concerning is the fact that shoppers set a new record just when some of the largest tech companies are laying off thousands of their employees at once, while a growing number of experts are warning that the recession is likely to hit as soon as next year.

A recent ABC News/Ipsos survey showed that rising prices and high inflation are top concerns for nearly half of Americans. The results of the survey that was conducted just days before the 2022 midterm elections showed that financial issues are by far the most dominant issue for the majority of the participants this year. That, however, didn’t prevent Americans from going big on spending this Thanksgiving.

According to Adobe Analytics, record online spending on Thanksgiving and Black Friday drove Cyber Week — Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday — to $35 billion in total sales, itself a record and up 4% from last year. Toys, electronics, and apparel were among the most popular product categories offered with discounts of up to 34%, 25% and 18%, respectively.

“With oversupply and a softening consumer spending environment, retailers made the right call this season to drive demand through heavy discounting,” Vivek Pandya, a lead analyst at Adobe Digital Insights, said in a statement. “It spurred online spending to levels that were higher than expected, and reinforced e-commerce as a major channel to drive volume and capture consumer interest.”

Adobe Analytics said that high prices and inflation were part of the reason for record shopping during the holiday. Huge discounts offered by retailers during the weekend motivated consumers to hunt for good deals and spend more than expected. The company also stated that many people used their pandemic savings for discounted purchases.

The online shopping trend is growing in general. Industry experts believe that online purchases will make up roughly 1 of every 5 dollars spent on retail goods this season. An increasing number of these purchases are made via smartphones, now accounting for half of online sales this season.

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