A Miracle on Michigan Avenue

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sales Shatter Records

Another Black Friday in the books. Gone are the days, it seems, of waking up at 5 a.m. to get a jump on the day’s deals, but that doesn’t equal less activity. In fact, 2022 saw the highest numbers in a while.

The National Retail Federation estimated that 166 million people shopped from Thanksgiving through Monday, the highest estimate since 2017, but reports concerning consumers’ weekend spending vary.

The Sun Times reported that shoppers carried on as they usually would, without regard to inflation or a looming recession, many even increasing spending. Residents in Chicagoland have estimated they’ll spend around $719, compared to $580 in 2021.

And the holiday hype checks out—no pun intended.

The last few years have been strange, to say the least, but as we continue to regain a sense of normalcy this season, shoppers have taken advantage by starting early. The Sun Times and Accenture found that of 1,500 Americans, 45% admitted to starting to shop in August.

But the forward-thinking mentality isn’t limited to consumers. Proactive retailers also seized the opportunity to kick start their in-store deals weeks—even months—in advance, especially those in areas that have struggled to regain foot traffic post-pandemic, and the strategy has proven successful thus far.

Shoppers swarmed Chicagoland from Michigan Avenue to Old Orchard in Skokie to Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, and many people reported it was the largest in-person turnout they’d seen in a while. More than 122.7 million people across the U.S. visited brick-and-mortar stores over the weekend, up 17% from 2021, according to the National Retail Federation.

Welcome news for businesses of all sizes. Mainstream chains like J. Crew, Neiman Marcus, and J.C. Penney were not spared from pandemic suffering, after all.

“It is important to note that while some may claim that retail sales gains are the result of higher prices, they must acknowledge the historic growth in consumers who are shopping in-store and online during the holiday weekend and into Cyber Monday,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “It is consumer demand that is driving growth.”

The group predicted the rise of holiday sales by 5% YOY and retailers will pocket 6% to 8% more than in 2021. Nationwide spending in November and December will near $960 billion, according to the Sun Times.