How Does Black Friday This Year Compare to 2021?

Retailers aren't dealing with the exact same issues in 2022, but Black Friday this year may not be smooth sailing either.
Woman puts small gift box into Black Friday sale bag.

Black Friday has changed a fair amount over the years. It's moved from a single day to more of a weeklong event, then shifted once again to encompass the whole month of November. The pandemic extended the season even more, and for the past few years, Black Friday has essentially started in October. But how does Black Friday this year compare to the 2021 holiday season? Keep reading to find out.

How Does Black Friday This Year Compare to 2021?

Sales Started Earlier Than Ever in 2022

The "Black Friday creep" has had a bigger presence each year, but the pandemic seemed to accelerate that stretching of the season in general. In 2020, Amazon shifted its Prime Day event to October, and that ended up serving as an unofficial start to the holiday shopping season. Early Black Friday deals rolled out shortly thereafter, as retailers knew the pandemic restrictions meant they wouldn't be able to host the same level of crowds.

SEE ALSO: Does Black Friday Matter Anymore?

But 2020 wasn't an anomaly, and well before Black Friday last year, retailers were rolling out early deals once again. In 2021, companies focused on combating supply chain disruptions and serious shipping delays. Many retailers warned about gifts not arriving in time for the holidays.

And this year, sales started earlier than ever. Target hosted a Deal Days event from October 6-8 and then started introducing early Black Friday deals right afterward. By October 24, Best Buy was rolling out its own Black Friday deals, and since then, we've seen a continuous stream of early promotions.

Inflation Means Higher Prices and Spread-Out Shopping

The U.S. saw inflation hit a 40-year high in 2022, and it impacted most — if not all — consumer-facing categories. Even though inflation has eased somewhat as of late, it's still carrying over and affecting the Black Friday season.

Black Friday sales this year started earlier than ever, with deals rolling out by the second week of October.

Inflation is part of the reason sales have stretched out once again this year, as retailers have been giving consumers the opportunity to spread out their shopping. Many families are feeling the pinch of inflation on their wallets, and being able to do a little holiday shopping here and there can make it easier to stick to a budget. The alternative is doing the bulk of one's shopping all at once and taking a heavier hit financially.

Supply Chain Issues Are Still a Thing

Supply chain issues in 2021 were part of the reason we saw an extended season of shopping, but many of these challenges have since been resolved. However, other potential supply chain problems could cause additional hiccups this year. For example, the Apple iPhone 14 Pro is backordered, with many deliveries expected by late December as of this writing.

SEE ALSO: How Will Inflation Affect Black Friday Shopping in 2022?

But the issues go beyond the latest iPhones. According to some industry experts, supply chain disruptions aren't going anywhere. Various areas have experienced impacts from Hurricane Ian, record-low water levels on the Mississippi River, and a chassis shortage that's affecting the trucking industry. On top of all that, the narrowly avoided rail strike could still happen.

Excess Inventory May Ease Stress

While supply chain issues may be affecting newer merchandise, some retailers do have excess inventory from this time last year. These items may see even better deals as retailers try to clear out old stock. But not every category is contributing to excess inventory, so there's a chance some products could see higher prices as stores try to keep them from selling out too quickly.

Overall, the holiday looks a little different every year, but Black Friday this year might signal a turning point for how it proceeds in the future.

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Julie Ramhold
Senior Staff Writer/Consumer Analyst

Julie's work has been featured on CNBC, GoBankingRates, Kiplinger, Marketwatch, Money, The New York Times, Real Simple, US News, WaPo, WSJ, Yahoo!, and more. She's extolled the virtues of DealNews in interviews with Cheddar TV, GMA, various podcasts, and affiliates across the United States, plus one in Canada.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).


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