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Fred Dunkley

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Fred Dunkley is a tech analyst, writer, and seasoned investor. Fred has years of experience covering global markets and geopolitics. 

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2021’s Black Friday Bummer

2021’s Black Friday Bummer

In order to keep their children's Christmas spirit, parents are facing an odd challenge for this holiday season: how to explain Santa’s low inventory caused by supply issues in the North Pole.

Traditionally, Black Friday has been the busiest shopping day of the year in the United States, known worldwide for the stunning deals. It’s also how parents often get hold of the most expensive items on their kids’ Christmas lists, such as the latest Nintendo or PlayStation setup. 

However, Black Friday 2021 might be a bit of a bummer. “Doorbusters” might meet their supply chain nemesis, and consumers might have to lower their deal strategies to the regular “coupon” level. 

Due to the supply crunch affecting pretty much everything right now, analysts are predicting that there won’t be a huge spread of deals to choose from.

Weak demand in the first half of last year, followed by a surge for the last holiday shopping season, has led to delays, jams and blockages across the supply chain, from Asian countries to American ports. 

According to the Adobe Digital Economy Index, there is a 172% rise in out-of-stock messages ahead of the holiday season compared to pre-pandemic levels. Compared to 2019, it’s a whopping 360% increase.

Of the categories analyzed from top 100 online retailers, clothing currently shows the highest out-of-stock levels, followed by sporting goods, electronics and baby products.

The supply chain situation has also driven up prices online, with experts saying that consumers could spend anywhere between 5% and 30% more during this season compared to last year. 

In recent years, many major stores moved their Black Friday sales online, already watering down the deals by offering weeklong sales. In fact, “Black Friday” this year has already started.

Even though “early” Black Friday sales started a month ahead last year, as well, for this season analysts have specifically recommended everyone get started as early as September, mostly due to shipping delays.

Despite all of this, consumer appetite for shopping remains strong and Adobe still expects overall U.S. holiday online sales to reach $207 billion in the next two months, which is at least a 10% increase from 2020.

In total, online shopping over the 2020 holidays grew 32.2% from 2019, totaling $188.2 billion.

For this holiday shopping season, even with physical shops open, it is expected that the vast majority of customers will still opt out for online shopping.

Black Friday of 2019, a few months ahead of the pandemic, broke every record for online shopping, beating out brick-and-mortar efforts.

Online Black Friday shopping hit a record of $7.4 billion, compared to $1.2 billion in online sales for Black Friday in 2018. Cyber Monday hit $9.4 billion in sales, an 18.9% increase over the prior year.

According to data from Adobe Analytics, in 2020 consumers spent a record $9 billion online the day after Thanksgiving, up 21.6% year over year. 

Aside from the clothing and tech deals, people also turned to the internet for fresh food and snacks, the report found. Online grocery shopping on Black Friday surged 397% compared with previous days averages.

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