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Online Black Friday sales hit record amid pandemic

Online Black Friday sales hit record amid pandemic
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American shoppers spent a record amount of money online during Black Friday this year as the coronavirus pandemic kept shoppers at home. 

An estimated $9 billion was spent on goods from U.S. retail websites as part of the annual shopping blitz, according to Adobe Analytics. The Associated Press reported that figure is a 22 percent increase over the last record, set in 2019 when $7.4 billion was spent online.

The news service reported a massive drop-off in in-person store visits to kick off the holiday season, with several major department stores and other retailers scaling back hours due to public health concerns. Sales of jewelry and footwear reportedly saw some of the largest decreases in terms of in-person sales. 

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With coronavirus cases surging in several states across the country, public health officials have warned all Americans against gathering in-person or leaving their homes for non-essential reasons. 

Just before the Thanksgiving holiday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance asking citizens not to hold large family gatherings over the holiday weekend. 

Local news accounts reported less foot traffic in shopping malls and outlet stores, compared to previous years. 

Adobe reported last week that Thanksgiving Day spending spiked nearly 25 percent this year, despite more Americans telling pollsters they are struggling financially or are food insecure heading into the holiday season as a result of economic hardship brought on by the pandemic.