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Pandemic not slowing shoppers, experts predict record holiday sales

The National Retail Federation says consumers are willing to spend on gifts that lift the spirits of family and friends after such a challenging year.

MAUMEE, Ohio — Despite the pandemic, shoppers are predicted to spend more money this year than they have in the past.

The National Retail Federation predicts holiday sales will hit a record high in 2020, as Black Friday shopping is just wrapping up. 

"(I'm) shopping and getting some dinner to take a break after cooking all day yesterday," said Christy Snyder, a mother of two young boys. 

But the shopping frenzy is only expected to continue as Christmas approaches.

"Trying to get Christmas shopping done because I'm afraid at some point and time everything may shut down and I can only get so much done online versus going into the shop and personally shopping," said Lisa Glanz, a mother of three shopping at the Shops at Fallen Timbers on Black Friday. 

Although the pandemic has hit pockets hard, this year, The National Retail Federation expects holiday sales to grow between 3.6% - 5.2%

"I'm afraid to add it up. I probably spent a couple of hundred dollars more than I would have," said one grandmother Friday.

But what's the reason behind people spending more?

An NRF chief economist said he believes families owe it to themselves to have a better-than-normal holiday.

"Obviously with the whole Thanksgiving situation and everything going on, it's kind of hard to see your family members, you know, especially one that's maybe at risk and all that. So, I understand kind of wanting to make up for that," Waterville shopper Ralph Durdo said.

"I think it's just a combination of everything, and then possibly having to stay home more, so just making sure that they have more things to keep them occupied," Snyder said. 

Whether they are spending more or less this year, most shoppers said the priority is to still make these holidays memorable.

"Just because of all the disruptions of the kids' lives, you know, with school and sports and graduation that make the end of the year... let's go out better than we came in," shopper Sue Vallade said.

"This isn't going to be forever, just make the most out of the memories and cherish the time that we do have and I think 2020 has taught us to cherish that, and not be so greedy, making sure that we're focusing on each other and staying healthy," Snyder said. 

You can click here to read the predictions made by the NRF.