How Will Inflation Affect Black Friday Shopping in 2022?
Most consumers are probably aware of how inflation has hit all-time highs in 2022. And even with some relief, it's still affecting prices across the board. This issue is front of mind for shoppers as Black Friday and the holiday season loom, and is causing significant stress as families try to determine what they can afford during the busy gift-giving season.
SEE ALSO: Does Black Friday Matter Anymore?
Because of the stress on many wallets this year, some people are wondering how inflation will affect Black Friday. Are we going to see the same discounts in 2022? Will we see fewer of them? Will they be less noteworthy than in previous years?
Read on to learn what you can expect and how you can still save. And if you want to know about specific product categories, be sure to check out all our Black Friday 2022 deal predictions.
How Will Inflation Affect Black Friday Shopping?
Final Prices Could Be Higher
With inflation driving starting prices up, there's a good chance that the final "deal" prices could be higher than we'd like around Black Friday. And that could result in slower sales growth for stores.
But that doesn't mean good deals won't be available. We expect to see the same kinds of discounts this year — that is, up to 75% off at certain stores, $10 off select minimum purchases, and "buy more, save more" promotions, among others. If the starting prices are higher, though, those discounts won't go as far this year compared to previous Black Fridays. Still, saving something is better than saving nothing, especially for purchases you're planning to make no matter what this holiday season.
Black Friday Season Will Be Longer
After offering early deals the past two years, retailers are well aware that consumers will start thinking about Black Friday shopping long before the holiday itself. Plenty of stores offered early sales in October 2021, and this year appears to be a repeat. For example, this month Amazon hosted the Prime Early Access Sale — akin to a second Prime Day — and Target offered up another Deal Days event ahead of that.
Both of these events used holiday shopping branding, so even if they weren't being called a kickoff to Black Friday, they seemed to be serving as that. Target also implemented its Holiday Price Match Guarantee with the Deal Days event. That means if you buy something at Target — online or in-store — and the price drops on or before December 24, you may be eligible for a price adjustment.
Ultimately, the longer season could be beneficial to shoppers. Stretching it out and giving people more time to shop could offer consumers a better chance to stay on budget.
Shoppers May Spend Less
As you may have seen in our infographic, we recently conducted a survey here on DealNews, and we found that 38.6% of the 236 respondents expect to spend less than last year during Black Friday shopping. Meanwhile, 37.3% are expecting to spend the same amount as they did in 2021. Only 24.2% of respondents are planning to spend more, given the level of inflation.
Yet some experts don't think inflation will really touch Black Friday shopping in 2022. After two years of pandemic-related restrictions and associated issues with supply chains and labor shortages, consumer spending has bounced back enough to offset those higher prices, some experts suggest.
How to Save During Black Friday Despite Inflation
Research Prices Ahead of Time
Take the time to make a list of items you're interested in now, and what their current prices are. Then, when Black Friday deals start rolling in, you'll know quickly if they're worth your time or not. This is one of the easiest ways to be able to tell at a glance whether a deal is a good one.
Many retailers offer similar or even the exact same deals, but that doesn't mean they all hold the same value to each person. Before you add an item to your cart, see if one store has a perk that makes buying there a better choice than purchasing the product at another store.
For instance, if you're a frequent Kohl's shopper, then you should be familiar with the Kohl's Cash system and may be more likely to use any "cash" you earn during Black Friday shopping. Or if you have a Target RedCard, you'll be able to save 5% on top of whatever savings the retailer is already offering. Even if a deal price is higher than it is elsewhere, with these kinds of perks, you may be able to drop the cost lower than what anyone else is offering.
Consider 'Buy Now, Pay Later'
If shopping is sapping your budget, consider using a "buy now, pay later" program. Plenty of retailers have options available now, including Target, but you can also check out the top buy now, pay later sites to see which retailers they support and how they work. As long as you'll be able to pay off your items in full within six weeks, this could be a good way to stay on budget and still buy everything you need, when you need it.
Set Price Alerts
The Black Friday season has always been overwhelming, and as it's become longer, it's only been harder to navigate. But you can take some of the guesswork out of the season by setting price alerts for items or brands you're interested in. Our tool lets you choose specific categories, stores, brands, and/or keywords, and even a price range if you want. You have to choose at least one filter, but other than that you can be as specific or broad as you want. Then when we list a deal that matches your parameters, you'll receive an email letting you know, and you can jump on it before it has a chance to sell out.