Entryways bursting open at stores. Groups spilling into the aisles. Elbows against elbows. Items flying off the racks.
These are the trademark pictures of Black Friday. This was before COVID-19 gripped the nation.
Now, the future of the biggest discount shopping day of the year is unknown.
Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is renowned for shopping deals and crowds in stores. It’s a day many people look forward to for holiday shopping and deals. However, in our COVID world , crowds are the thing to avoid.
Many people are asking will Black Friday still happen? And the answer is yes, it will still happen, but things will be a little different this year.
With social distancing the new normal this 2020, it’s hard to imagine shoppers camping out on the sidewalk, sitting in lawn chairs. It’s even more difficult to picture stores overflowing with excited shoppers.
A majority of Americans have health and safety concerns as this holiday shopping season nears.
Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Kohl’s and other retailers have said they will remain closed on Thanksgiving due to the pandemic and the growth of online shopping, according to USA Today.
Retailers are moving the deals online so that fewer consumers feel the need to be in crushing crowds on Black Friday.
“2020 finds 52 percent of Americans planning to sit Black Friday out this year, the once-classic occasion that kicked off the holiday shopping season for U.S. consumers, with only 12 percent expecting to shop in-store,” according to Victoria Sakal with morning consult.
Walmart has reinvented Black Friday for the pandemic, and it looks a lot like early voting with deals available days before the actual day after Thanksgiving.
“Black Friday definitely won’t be as exciting as it used to be before COVID but i’m happy that the stores are taking precaution and trying to keep us safe while still getting good deals. With many stores spreading the deals out over days before Thanksgiving,” said De’Naysha Mullings, a student at FAMU who traditionally goes shopping with her family on Black Friday.
The largest U.S. retailer is anticipating that COVID-19 will subdue crowds on Black Friday, so it’s spacing out its discounts and controlling how it plans to let shoppers into its stores, according to times free press.
“We’ve been very thoughtful as we planned this year’s event. By spreading deals out across multiple days and making our hottest deals available online, we expect the Black Friday experience in our stores will be safer and more manageable for both our customers and our associates,” said Scott McCall, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer for Walmart U.S.
On Black Friday, Walmart stores will open at 5 a.m. after being closed on Thanksgiving for the first time in years, according to corporate walmart.com.
Stores like Best Buy, Macy’s, and Target typically offer their biggest Black Friday deals over Thanksgiving weekend, but now they’re starting them in October so people don’t crowd their stores in November, creating a potentially dangerous situation during a pandemic. Keeping the customers safe this Black Friday is the main priority of many retailers.