How the pandemic is changing holiday shopping this Black Friday

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- This is the moment holiday shoppers wait for all year: Black Friday, closely guarded deals and big savings.

Just how different will things look in the year 2020 amidst an international pandemic? At the very least there will be no visits with Santa, no big crowds, and most stores are closing on Thanksgiving Day.

Despite that, the shopping season is still a go. It’s just going a little differently.

“They are really trying to push shoppers more and more to do online shopping than to physically go into the store on Black Friday.”

Jon Vincent with, a site that compiles Black Friday ads into one place for shoppers says the online push comes as no surprise.

“The big difference this year is that stores are going to be closed on Thanksgiving Day. They’re saying ‘hey we’re closed on thanksgiving, please shop online instead.’ So, they’re putting all of their doorbuster deals online, instead of in-store this year. In fact, a lot of the deals are online only and you can only get them online.”

According to the National Retail Federation, the majority of shoppers plan to shop online this year for holiday gifts and 96 percent of retailers are expecting their online sales to increase as a result.

What’s not changing this year is the amount of money shoppers are spending.

“We are seeing that on average consumers are planning to spend close to $1000 on the holidays which is just $50 less than last year,” Katherine Cullen said with the National Retail Federation. “Considering all of the changes the pandemic has brought, that’s really incredible.”

Cullen says Black Friday has now been extended to Black November with retailers offering consistent deals online and extending those sales over multiple weekends and even into December.

“You shouldn’t look for a crowded in-store experience. This is not the year for it. They have been really active in spreading out shopping, letting people know that there are great deals now and you don’t have to wait,” Cullen said.

Retailers are also getting creative to keep shoppers safe in stores focusing on things like curbside pick-up, same-day delivery and appointment-based shopping.

But if you’re still planning on shopping in person this year…..

“Tiffany: What do you recommend for people shopping in person?”

“Jon: Wear a mask and bring your patience! It’s going to take a long time to check out at the store, there’s going to be a limited amount of people allowed in the stores, it’s just going to be a slower process in general. You can go but it’s going to be a much different experience and it’s really not going to be all that fun.”

For a list of store hours this year for Black Friday click here.

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