Black Friday 2020: Adapting to a Pandemic

With Black Friday traditionally attracting swarms of consumers for huge sales, many are left wondering what exactly it might look like this year and what kinds of deals will be seen.

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Ashley Lubkeman

Most sales and deals will likely be online this year as stores try to keep COVID case numbers low and keep shoppers safe.

Normally a day for in-person deal hunting and bargain searching, this year’s events are bound to be much different and the idea of Black Friday could possibly be altered forever.

 

For a recap of some important Black Friday deals and sales, view this link.

 

Many retail giants like Best Buy, Target, Walmart and others have already announced that they will not be open on Thanksgiving this year, which is the time when sales typically begin. According to Fast Company, many deals this year will be entirely online or online-focused. Walmart, for example, began their Black Friday deals online on Nov. 11. The deals will be released in three separate waves, with the final wave beginning on Nov. 25. 

 

Similarly, Best Buy will be announcing sales in waves and has already begun many of their in-store and online deals; the first of which began on Nov. 5 with “The Wish List Sale.” According to Best Buy, the majority of in-store deals are set to begin on Nov. 22. This approach helps to reduce crowd sizes; rather than swarming the store all in one day, consumers will have upwards of two weeks to do their shopping. 

 

Not only has the timeframe been altered, but the logistics of the special event have been greatly changed as well. With new social distancing guidelines and lowered maximum capacities, stores filled to the brim with customers in crowds by the hundreds are in the past. Best Buy has said their stores will operate at just 40 percent of normal maximum capacity, and they will focus on online orders and curbside pickup.

 

“My family usually goes shopping on Black Friday, and I think more people will participate this year,” junior Ravyn Edran said. “Online shopping is much more accessible now and people are more exposed to technology because of the pandemic.” 

 

The statistics seem to support Edran’s theory; according to eMarketer, online sales are anticipated to increase by 49.5 percent and total sales could be so much as 39.6 percent higher than in 2019.

 

Junior Bella Bussone, however, is unsure about the idea of a longer Black Friday period. 

 

“I find it interesting that Black Friday is lasting a whole month this year,” Bussone said. “It makes sense since it reduces crowding in stores to be more in line with coronavirus guidelines, but part of the fun is rushing out the door on Thanksgiving to go shopping. It’s kind of a tradition, but it’s changing this year.”

 

Though many are opting to forgo in-person shopping this year, the changes in Black Friday arguably have advantages. With a much larger time frame, the holiday is no longer limited to just one day, which allows not only more options for deals but also a safer shopping experience.