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Shoppers took advantage of Black Friday deals as many retailers started discounts earlier this month.

Preliminary data from Mastercard showed that Black Friday shopping increased by 29.8% through 3 p.m. ET from 2020, as consumers embraced deals online and from in person deals. 

The data includes purchases made by cash and check. Online sales rose by 10.6% while in-store shopping increased by 42.9% compared to 2020’s lower shopping volume due to the pandemic and a lack of vaccines.

“Retail spending has been on the rise throughout the day and it speaks to the strength of the consumer,” said Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former CEO and Chairman of Saks Incorporated. 

“Our latest Mastercard SpendingPulse reports show retail sales up 30% compared to last year and we anticipate a positive holiday season well beyond Black Friday.”

Shoppers spent most of their money on apparel, which increased by 86.4% compared to 2020, Mastercard said. Consumers also flocked to department stores which saw sales rise by 47.9%. 

Sales of electronics were more muted and rose only by 20.7% as many products remain unavailable due to shortages in semiconductor chips.

Retailers began promoting and offering their deals earlier this month as supply chain disruptions and shipping delays threatened holiday sales, the one period a year when a large amount of revenue is generated for many retailers.

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By 10 a.m. ET, data from retailers showed that sales rose by 12.1% as favorable temperatures and eager shoppers hit retailers that had started their sales earlier in November. 

Now, this year's Black Friday is emerging to become a shopping season versus a single day of larger discounts, Mastercard said.

Blockbuster deals were not as common as previous years, when shoppers started standing in line the previous night and hordes of eager consumers descended into stores early in the morning. 

Other retailers such as Target, Costco, Apple, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Best Buy, Walmart, Macy’s, JCPenney, Kohl's and Dick's Sporting Goods kept their stores closed on Thanksgiving, a newer tradition that was started in opposition to opening stores on a holiday.

The National Retail Federation, a trade group, estimated that sales would climb in 2021by 8.5% to 10.5% to $859 billion for shopping conducted in November and December compared to last year. During the past five years sales rose on average by 4.4%.

The shopping frenzy that usually occurs at brick and mortar stores on Black Friday was muted this year, as shoppers have grown accustomed to shopping online, with deals were already offered earlier in the week and as fears of coronavirus continued.

While there were still lines of people waiting for the doors to be opened at Walmart ( (WMT) - Get Walmart Inc. Report) and Best Buy ( (BBY) - Get Best Buy Co., Inc. Report), shoppers noticed that the lines were shorter and less frenetic than past Black Fridays.

Fewer discounts from supply chain bottlenecks and higher demand contributed to the decline of in store shoppers. 

Adobe Analytics said that discounts for home appliances were an average of 8.4% this year compared to 17.2% in 2020 while sporting good deals were only a discount of 5.9% this year compared to 13% in 2020.