Vice President Kamala Harris (R) and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff (L) have their photo taken with shoppers as they support Small Business Saturday with a visit to an outdoor Christmas market, Saturday in Washington, DC. Cyber Monday is expected to draw more than 62 million shoppers. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Cyber Monday is expected to draw in 62.8 million shoppers online as merchants are expecting more robust numbers than last year, but sales aren't expected to reach pre-pandemic levels, according to the National Retail Federation.
Black Friday sales at brick-and-mortar stores were up 47.5% from last year, but down 28.3% compared with 2019 pre-pandemic levels, according to Sensormatic Solutions. Researchers said shoppers opted to shop more in person this year to avoid potential shipping delays, despite COVID-19 concerns.
"While in-store shopping is still not back to 2019 levels, more shoppers felt comfortable visiting stores in person this Black Friday than in 2020," Brian Field, senior director of global retail consulting at Sensormatic Solutions said in a statement.
"One driver of this increased traffic could be ongoing supply chain challenges and shipping delays, which are resulting in consumers shopping earlier to ensure their gifts arrive on time. With ongoing staffing challenges due to the labor shortage, retailers can leverage data-driven solutions to ensure their stores are appropriately staffed and shelves are stocked during anticipated busy shopping days."
The NRF had predicted that 158.3 million people will go shopping over the entire Thanksgiving Day weekend, including Cyber Monday, up nearly 2 million from 2020, but short of 165.3 million in 2019, according to its annual survey.
Numerous national chains were open on Thanksgiving to help customers get a jump on holiday shopping, including pharmacies like CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens, to retailers Big Lots, Old Navy, Family Dollar and Dollar General. Supermarkets Kroger's and Whole Foods were also open.
Several popular outlets joined a trend of closing on Thanksgiving, including Best Buy, Costco, Macy's, Target, Trader Joe's and Walmart.
Sensormatic Solutions said it expects the 10 busiest U.S. shopping days in 2021 will happen during the holiday season but remain off from 10% to 15% compared to 2019 pre-pandemic.