While Black Friday was originally conceived by brick-and-mortar retailers who tried to lure turkey-fed holiday shoppers in with the best offers, last year's Thanksgiving weekend looked much different to previous ones. As the coronavirus spread across the nation, millions of Americans decided to skip the crowds and hunted for the best deals from the safety of their homes instead.
According to data from Deloitte’s annual Holiday Retail Survey, the pandemic accelerated a broader trend towards online shopping during last year's holiday season, as consumers were anxious to venture outside in the absence of Covid vaccines. Twelve months later, with a significant portion of the population fully vaccinated and case numbers much lower than at the same time last year, holiday shoppers are tentatively returning to stores, helping brick-and-mortar retailers to regain some lost ground in the battle for consumers' holiday dollars.
This year, U.S. consumers plan to spend 33 percent of their holiday budget in physical stores, up from 28 percent last year. The broader trend towards online shopping, whether it's during the holiday season or throughout the rest of the year, cannot be stopped however. Americans expect to spend 62 percent of their holiday budget online this year, down from 64 percent in 2020, but still up from 59 percent in pre-pandemic 2019.