What’s worth it and how to find the best deals

Table of Contents What to buy before or on Black FridayWhat not to buy on

Ask your mom and dad or your grandparents what Black Friday was like in the “old days” and they may reminisce about sitting on collapsable lawn chairs, wrapped in blankets while sipping spiked hot chocolate from a heavy Stanely thermos at 3 a.m. outside Walmart.

Believe it or not, back in the 1990s and into the mid-2000s, hoards of people were willing to forgo sleep and shiver for hours in the dark to be the first in line to snatch up deals on a big-screen television, digital pocket camera, or a Tickle Me Elmo or Furby when stores opened their doors at 5 a.m. the morning after Thanksgiving.

But is the tradition of Black Friday dead?

“We haven’t seen that in years,” Kristen McGrath, editor of The Real Deal told The Courier Journal. “Black Friday is pretty subdued. We’ve been checking parking lots outside major retailers for the past several years and the crowds just aren’t there. I’d say there is really no reason to go into a store if you don’t want to because you can get those same deals online.”

Shoppers make their way around the Mall St. Matthews before dawn during Black Friday shopping. Crowds were not as dense this year due to many starting their shopping Thursday evening. Nov. 29, 2019

The annual Adobe holiday online shopping forecast expects U.S. consumer spending to spike at $207 billion from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31. That’s both a new online spending record and a 10% increase from 2020. 

“We are entering a second holiday season where the pandemic will dictate the terms,” said Patrick Brown, vice president of growth marketing and insights of Adobe. “Limited product availability, higher prices, and concerns about shipping delays will drive another surge towards e-commerce, as it provides more flexibility in how and when consumers choose to shop.”