Black Friday: Lure of bargains will draw millions of shoppers to stores this holiday weekend

Black Friday is one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year and it’s expected to be more hectic than ever as consumers flood stores to find bargains while getting a head start on Christmas shopping.

Many consumers have scaled back on spending this year based on rising costs due to record-high inflation that rose 7.7% in October. But this won’t deter shoppers from filling stores to find bargains during the holiday weekend, according to an annual survey from the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

In the Nov. 17 report, the NRF surveyed 7,719 consumers between November 1-8 to discuss their Black Friday shopping plans. According to the survey, 59% of responders said stores are offering deals that are too good to pass up, 27% cited tradition as their reason for shopping, and 22% said their heading to stores because it gives them something to do during the holiday break. 

National Retail Federation director talks survey and holiday weekend shopping outlook

Katherine Cullen, senior director of industry and consumer insights for the National Retail Federation, explained to FOX Television Stations that the newly released survey from the NRF estimates that 166.3 million people are planning to shop between Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday this year, which the organization says is almost 8 million more people than last year.

"We were really excited about these numbers. We know there’s a lot of focus on the Thanksgiving weekend. Two years where Thanksgiving has been complicated by the pandemic and other factors. Roughly 166 million people are going out to consider shopping."

RELATED: Target claims ‘biggest Black Friday sale ever’ as Thanksgiving nears

"When we conducted this survey in early November, we found most people polled plan around this event. We have some folks who mark their calendars for Black Friday deals and make plans with family and friends to shop. About half of the people polled who say they’re not shopping over Thanksgiving weekend say something could change their mind, for example, seeing a great deal or promotion. Maybe getting invited to go shopping with a family member or friend, or simply they have an extra hour to do something, and they decide to go to a store and go shopping online."

Cullen believes responses from the survey may reflect some people are not as concerned about inflation or paying higher prices for items because shoppers are focused on finding good deals.

"I think it’s certainly a mixed picture. We know that inflation and higher prices are definitely top of mind for a lot of people. Consumers, particularly at lower income levels, are feeling the crunch of higher prices in many areas of their lives. But in a sense that may put a little more focus on Black Friday because people are looking for deals, they’re looking for value, they’re looking for sales and promotions right now. Even with the other things going on, they want to celebrate with their families, they want to give gifts, and they’re trying to make it work within their budget. So we may actually see a little bit of that translating into more of a focus on Thanksgiving weekend or even the sales leading up to it."

RELATED: Walmart releases 2022 Top Toy List to kick off holiday shopping season

Some businesses have felt the impact of inflation as they brace for the holiday shopping weekend. In August, Target Corp. shares tumbled as the retail giant reported a 52% drop in third-quarter profit and issued a gloomy forecast for holiday sales, warning that inflation is causing a shift in consumer spending behavior, FOX Business reported. 

"Certainly, retailers are seeing different impacts from inflation. Businesses are seeing their own costs go up from the rising cost of labor as well as inflation in their own business, and rising costs in their supply chain, so it’s something their definitely paying attention to," Cullens noted.

"I think one thing a lot of retailers did was start those sales early to give people a little bit more time to shop around, to give people more time to make sure their finding the best price for themselves. But the NRF is hearing from a lot of our members that their ready for Black Friday and Thanksgiving weekend and overall, we’re expecting to see a healthy holiday season. NRF is forecasting that retail sales will grow somewhere between 6-8% this year and that’s on top of last year’s record growth. So it’s a good signal to us that for the next couple of months there is enough strength on the part of the consumer to make this a healthy holiday."

Shopping tips for the holiday weekend

If you're planning to get in on the deals, Cullen offers helpful tips for shoppers to consider this holiday weekend.

"We just encourage people to plan ahead, there are a lot of deals out there and a lot of information out there and it always helps to follow your favorite retailer, or subscribe to their loyalty program to get extra perks especially for people looking to save a little bit of money there are a lot of different ways to do that, so a little planning ahead can go along way over the next week." 

Target and Walmart among retailers offering deals for Black Friday

Last week, Target announced its "largest" Black Friday sale yet. The retail titan said deals will be available between Nov. 20 and Nov. 28 online and in stores and will feature deals including up to 50% off electronics, toys, video games, kitchen appliances, and more.

Target said it will also debut new deals on Thanksgiving Day through the holiday weekend, and for Cyber Monday on Nov. 27-28.

The company previously announced that all of its stores would be closed on Thanksgiving Day. Most stores will reopen at 7 a.m. local time on Black Friday.

But Target isn’t the only store pulling on all the stops for the holidays. Stores like Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy have already started releasing some of their Black Friday deals.

Walmart released its list of the top toys for 2022 in August, and more than half the toys listed were under $50 and others under $25. Some of the top toys rolling out this holiday season featuring brands that include LEGO, Cocomelon, Jurassic World, Barbie, and Hot Wheels. 

FOX 6 Milwaukee and FOX Business contributed to this story. This story was reported from Washington, D.C.