However, experts agree that whatever is left to buy will be expensive. Already, prices are increasing across the board—the consumer price index rose 6.2% in October over last year, following a similar rise in September. In addition, retailers will be focusing on higher-end items in order to make the most profit.
“When they were deciding which ones they wanted to ship from overseas, which ones to put on their ships, which ones to get through the congested ports, the natural choice is to prioritize the products that have the highest profit margins—the more luxury products,” said Babich. “We won’t have as many cheaper alternatives this time.”
Is anyone doing anything particularly innovative this year?
Black Friday can still be a chance for brands to run creative campaigns—even if they are not driving people to visit malls. Popular Nintendo game "Animal Crossing: New Horizons" will host a sale within the store in its game—very meta. Called “Nook Friday,” the sale will include 30% discounts at the Nook’s Cranny store.
Read: It could be the most expensive Thanksgiving ever—how food brands are responding
The Kraken Rum is taking a darker route with its Black Friday promotion, which involves a series of activities consumers can compete in for prizes. For eight hours beginning at noon every hour, a chest will open to offer a prize like the chance to train for a submarine captain license in Curaçao if you tattoo a kraken on your body. “The greater the sacrifice, the more generous the reward,” read a release promoting the #StepIntoTheDark initiative, which will be amplified with paid search, programmatic and custom content.
Meanwhile, brands outside the retail space are hoping to capitalize on consumers’ willingness to spend with their own campaigns and discounts. Earlier this week, Expedia began running its first Black Friday-themed marketing push, urging customers to choose getaways over gadgets.
One spot zooms into a beach scene on a TV as a voiceover asks, “This Black Friday do you want a TV? Or do you want…the place on the TV?” This year, the answer from consumers, who are spending on both retail items and travel, might just be both.
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