The stores are full of promises of comfort and joy — a pair of fancy sweatpants, some box fresh sneakers, a shiny new kitchen gadget, a cozy new blanket. In a year of economic and social turmoil, brands are banking on the holiday to make up lost profits, and shoppers are hoping they can buy themselves some winter cheer to light up an otherwise dark year. Most of this wishful buying and selling is happening online.
“My mom and I would always go out on Black Friday. This was the first year that we didn’t so I have purchased every Christmas gift online,” said Anne Cnockaert, in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Like millions of other people, the 38-year-old tech employee said social distancing during the global pandemic transformed her shopping habits. “It has been a little strange doing it all online, but it’s kind of fun to get the packages,” she said.