By Camille Cox | Staff Writer
From waking up at 3 a.m. to standing in lines for hours, shoppers across the nation spend Thanksgiving weekend in the stores striking up holiday deals.
Black Friday, which officially began in 1927 after the first annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, draws in millions of online and in-person shoppers each year.
While Black Friday is not an official holiday, retail stores across the nation provide extended hours and increased inventory on the Friday following Thanksgiving. This year, Black Friday is on Nov. 26.
According to the National Retail Federation, about 186.4 million people participated in Black Friday shopping in 2020. The NRF said many big companies have already begun their Black Friday deals in response to the global pandemic and a rise in online shopper presence.
Flower Mound sophomore Lauren Leath said she has participated in Black Friday shopping with her friends during the night after Thanksgiving.
“In high school, my best friends and I decided to go Black Friday shopping, so we went shopping at Southlake Town Square, and it’s a lot of shops like Altar’d State, Lululemon, Anthropologie, stuff like that, so not the typical Best Buy, Target or Walmart,” Leath said. “We got up at four in the morning. We had a sleepover after Thanksgiving, and we couldn’t drive at the time, so our moms drove us. We got Starbucks, shopped until nine in the morning. It was the most fun I’ve ever had because there were no people there since most people go to huge chain stores.”
Leath said she did not participate in in-person Black Friday shopping in 2020 due to the pandemic.
“We didn’t go the COVID-19 year, but we are going again this year, and we all go to different colleges, so it’s going to be fun to come back together,” Leath said. “We did it every year of high school, and it was always the highlight of the holidays for me.”
Amazon, Target, Best Buy and Walmart have several sales already out, marking down holiday favorites such as TVs, books, headphones and toys.
Small-Business Saturday and Cyber Monday follow Black Friday, providing a weekend of deals for shoppers. Holiday retail revenue is predicted to reach $843.4 billion from the weekend of sales.
Dallas sophomore Haleigh Brown said she participates in Black Friday each year with her friends at the Galleria Dallas.
“Six of my friends and I have gone to the Galleria on Black Friday every year since we were like 12,” Brown said. “We go during the day and just hang out and shop and eat. It’s a super fun tradition we do and look forward to every year.”
Brown said she prefers shopping in person rather than online, despite the large crowds.
“In-person Black Friday shopping is overall more fun, easier and better for spending time with each other,” Brown said.
Houston junior Grant Gill said he also likes shopping in person to try on clothes and get the best deals immediately.
“I wake up really early, around 3 a.m., and make a beeline straight for the nearest mall/outlet mall/galleria, and I spend the day shopping, seeing what the lowest prices are, and normally I’ll end up at Target,” Gill said.
Statista reported that online Black Friday revenue will dramatically increase in 2021 in comparison to prior years, saying, “forecasts suggest that online sales for the holiday period would grow by more than 14 percent … reaching close to 207 billion dollars.”