Less shoppers may be hitting brick and mortar stores this year for Black Friday.
The Florida Retail Federation is expecting an uptick in people Black Friday shopping, but says more than half won’t be doing it in-person.
“56% of consumers nationwide are shopping online,” said Amanda Bevis, a spokesperson for the Federation.
Bevis said another factor changing the traditional nature of Black Friday is the amount of shoppers hitting stores early, instead of on the actual retail day. She said many businesses are offering deals as early as the beginning of November.
“Shoppers are starting to shop earlier than ever, we saw more than half of shoppers begin in early November and we’re assuming they’re taking advantage of deals but also avoid higher prices later in the holiday season,” said Bevis.
It’s a trend Gabriel Finocchieti noticed, too. He has owned Gabriel’s Cafe & Grill near The Mall at Wellington Green for 33 years. Usually on Black Friday, he sees a significant uptick in revenue due to hungry shoppers.
“About 10 o’clock, everybody comes in after shopping,” said Finnochieti. "We do have a good day.”
He was hoping for that boost in revenue this year, but said the amount of customers coming in fell short.
“Definitely this year was a little slower,” said Finocchieti. “The reason? I don’t know, everything is online, so I don't know if there’s not as many people as there used to be going out.”
Many of the customers eating at Finnochieti’s, like Barbara Allen, and her family, agreed.
“I just don’t do that anymore. I don't know anybody who’s going this year,” said Allen.
Finocchieti said the lack of revenue is a tough loss this year, with inflation at an all time high.
“I'm paying $3,000 more a week in food costs," he said. People pretty much buying online, that’s not good for us.”
Still, Finocchieti is keeping his faith.
“We’re gonna make it up. I hope,” he said.
It’s a faith fueled by his customers, as he counts on them to keep his doors open, and his chin up.
“That to me is more important than the business. It’s why I'm still here. No matter what, it’s for the people,” Finocchieti said.
He hopes people wanting to support small businesses on Black Friday and on Small Business Saturday remember it’s not only retailers that need support, but restaurants too.
Even if in-person Black Friday shopping dips this year, the National Retail Federation expects shopping over the entire holiday season to increase by 6 to 8% this year.