Black Friday is the traditional kickoff for the holiday shopping season, though these days, deals have been going for several weeks at many chains. Still, some stores hold back extra special sales just for the day to entice shoppers.
In fact, dozens lined up at the Best Buy in The Galleria to get in when the doors opened at 5 a.m. to take part in those doorbuster deals.
They're just some of the many early bird shoppers that retailers hope will boost sales to their highest point since the pandemic began.
The National Retail Federation predicts this could be the busiest shopping weekend since 2017.
A recent survey from Bankrate shows nearly 60% of Americans said they'll shop at small businesses this year.
"Gen Z is actually a big part of that," Katy Forman Frey with the George Washing University School of Business said. "There's a statistic that about 67% of TikTok users are buying items from small businesses that show up on their 'For You' page."
Black Friday marks a return to familiar holiday shopping patterns, but inflation is weighing on consumers.
Elevated prices for food, rent, gasoline and other household costs have taken a toll on shoppers. As a result, many are reluctant to spend unless there is a big sale and are being more selective with what they will buy — in many cases, trading down to cheaper stuff and less expensive stores.
Shoppers are also dipping more into their savings, turning increasingly to “buy now, pay later” services like Afterpay that allow users to pay for items in installments, as well as running up their credit cards at a time when the Federal Reserve is hiking rates to cool the U.S. economy.
Such financial hardships could help drive shoppers to look for bargains.