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Sales could reach $859 billion this holiday season as shoppers scramble to find last-minute gifts

Retail trends for the 2021 holiday season
Retail sales for the 2021 holiday season expected to be the highest on record 04:13

November and December sales could be up as much as 11.5% from 2020, according to the National Retail Federation. Sales may potentially reach $859 billion this holiday season.

Author and USA Today's retail and workplace correspondent Charisse Jones told "CBS Mornings" that sales are up because Americans have been looking forward to the holiday season.  

"A lot of folks have extra money because wages went up a little bit this year. You also have the stimulus checks and the child tax credits. So, people have a little bit more money in their pockets. They are eager to get out there and shop," Jones said 

But for many, some items on their holiday wish lists won't make it under their Christmas trees due to nationwide supply chain issues.

"The supply chain is causing some problems. Right, I mean some of the things you really want on your holiday list just were not there this year. So [shoppers] had to have kind of improvise a little bit to get everything on their list," said Jones. 

Jones said Americans are spending their money on classic toys like Barbie dolls, Legos and Nerf items. Household items like Instant Pots and Roomba vacuums as well as clothing have also been popular.  

But electronics remain supreme this holiday season, with many eager shoppers looking to purchase smartphones, the Nintendo Switch, Xbox and other game consoles which have been hard to locate online. 

Brick-and-mortar stores have seen an increase in shoppers due to the limited supply of electronics found online.  

"Well, they really served a purpose this year right because of the supply chain issues. So, a lot of folks would go online, look for what they want, that doll or that PlayStation, and if they found it at a local store, they would head out there immediately, pick it up — that way you don't have to wait on it, you aren't paying shipping costs," Jones added.  

Shopping malls have also seen an uptick in foot traffic the last couple of months as many shoppers, especially younger ones, feel more comfortable leaving their homes.  

"I think that this year you really miss the crowds from before, going through the pandemic. So, folks really wanted to get out there and shop in person more so this year," Jones said.  

Jones recommends gift cards if shoppers cannot find their items before Christmas Day. Those hard-to-find items may become available in the weeks after the holiday.  

"So, next year when the inventory kind of opens up, the supply chain is moving a little bit better, you can find that top gift that you couldn't get before and maybe even save a few dollars because there is a lot more available and not as much as a clamor for it. And that can really help you out as well," said Jones.  

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