BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — It was a weekend of purchasing pandemonium, and the season is only just getting started.

This year’s holiday shopping got off to a big start. According to Adobe Analytics, online sales on Black Friday reached a new record, raking in more than $9.21 billion this year, and it’s not over yet with Cyber Monday.

The Alabama Retail Association is projecting that Alabamians will spend $18 billion in November and December — that’s a five percent increase from last year. The most popular purhcases right now are electronics, toys, apparel and jewelry.

“Consumers are very cognizant of inflation, and they are looking for deals, but they’re still shopping,” said Nancy Dennis, director of public relations for the Alabama Retail Association.

But as consumers spend their dollars, Dennis urged them to look local. For some mom-and-pop shops, the holidays mean 60 percent of their business for the year.

“All that money is gonna come back and circulate in your community,” Dennis said.

The Birmingham Zoo is one place you might not expect that’s now taking advantage of Cyber Monday sales.

“Anyone who purchases a membership or renews a zoo membership will receive a free Glow Wild [holiday lantern celebration] ticket, good for use through January 16th next year,” said Leigh Collins, vice president of financial development for the Birmingham Zoo.

Collins said they hope that this sale tactic could further help them bounce back from years of financial hits during the pandemic.

“The last few years for [the Birmingham Zoo] have been trying … Cyber Monday along with other special events are really important to us. The Birmingham Zoo is a non-profit organization, so we need that funding any way we can get it,” Collins said.