BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The Thanksgiving holiday weekend was one of the busiest shopping weekends of the season and the National Retail Federation says it remains a significant time for family and friends to get those most wanted items crossed off their lists. Despite supply chain, workforce, and inflation issues, the federation says it didn't stop people from looking for what they wanted, in fact, it found more consumers took advantage of early holiday sales, in-store, and online options.
According to the federation, prior to the start of weekend shopping, it estimated 158.3 million potential shoppers nationally from Black Friday through Cyber Monday. However this year, the federation found 179.8 million shoppers made in-store and online purchases which exceeded initial expectations by over 21 million people. Here in Kern County, retailers say they also saw an increase in foot traffic.
"Seeing the shopping center just filled and there's lines out the door and then families just have bags upon bags, so you know, yes, they were there to shop for themselves but also for the holiday gifting season," Becca Bland said.
The Outlets at Tejon welcomed customers back to shop this holiday season. Marketing Manager Becca Bland says the outlet expected an increase in visitors and use overflow parking and extra staff to help accommodate more shoppers.
"Our goal is about 5% more traffic from 2019, well, we exceeded that, we met that goal and then went above and beyond so even more people came so as of right now we’re at 101% with two days left in November to really see how our traffic was for 2021," Bland said.
The National Retail Federation says the number of in-store shoppers increased from last year. In 2020, 92.3 million people shopped in-stores, while this year, 104.9 million shoppers did their shopping in person. It's an increase in 12.6 million people. However, the number of online shoppers decreased by 17.6 million people this year compared to 2020.
“The great thing about the outlets is once you come and purchase you’re buying right then and there you don’t have to wait to track your package and even if you bought it, even if you secured your gift you have no idea with shipping so that's kind of what we're noticing here people want for sure to have that, we purchased that gift and we know it's going to be under the tree," Bland said.
The federation says these numbers reflect more shoppers resuming to pre-pandemic behaviors as more people get vaccinated against COVID-19. Bland says because the outlet is outdoors, she also noticed shoppers felt more comfortable.
“Lots of happy families, we saw a lot of children out, it was definitely felt like pre-pandemic at some point," Bland said.
This year nationally, Black Friday remained the most popular day for shopping followed by Small Business Saturday, while Thanksgiving day had the least number of shoppers.
"We saw for Shop Small Saturday that some of our local entrepreneurs also did really well on that Black Friday weekend," Bland said.
The federation says more shoppers found it more important to support local businesses this season. 23ABC reached out to Valley Plaza Mall, which was not able to provide data but says the mall experienced strong foot traffic over the Black Friday weekend.