STORY: Shoppers were expected to turn out in record numbers on Black Friday, but thin crowds were seen outside stores on what has historically been the busiest shopping day of the year.
At this Best Buy in suburban Chicago, only about 30 shoppers braved the cold and stood in line before the store opened at 5am on Friday. Deal catcher Kevin said he was glad to be there.
"I feel pretty good finally getting a PS5. You know, just sacrificing some sleep to get it."
Rain deterred shoppers from physically going to stores in other parts of the country.
At Macy’s flagship store in New York City, which was cloudy with occasional light rain, there was hardly any foot traffic.
But more people were expected to bargain hunt online. Thanksgiving Day online sales jumped to a record of $5.3 billion, according to Adobe Analytics. Overall, the National Retail Federation estimates that 166.3 million people are planning to shop between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday, nearly 8 million more than the year before.
Some retail insiders do, however, think Americans could pull back on their holiday spending this year as inflation and higher energy costs bite their wallets.
A survey of nearly 1,700 U.S. consumers by S&P Global shows that 26% of respondents are looking to spend less this holiday season, while 66% said they will spend roughly the same amount as last year. And only 7% said they will spend more.