Black Friday had already started to become diffused in recent years with sales spread out throughout most of the holiday season. This year, COVID-19 has accelerated that trend and has driven people to shop online more than before.
"This year is going to be profoundly different. We have amazon, which moved ‘Prime Day’ to early October,” says Stacy Debroff, a consumer trends expert and owner of Influencer Central. “We have seen discounts ... And 56 percent of consumers say they are spending less during this holiday season, according to our consumer insight panel.”
Debroff explains the pandemic has caused significant changes in consumer behavior, which has been on full display during this Black Friday.
“The vast majority of consumers are shipping gifts via e-commerce, which means they’ve already done their shopping,” says DeBroff.
For people who prefer to support small businesses, some, such as Anamari Ortega, offer a virtual consultation in order to get to know the tastes of the people on your list. They can also gift wrap and ship directly to your loved one.
A national study by Influence Central says 76 percent of consumers are whipping up more home-cooked meals since the onset of COVID-19, which is why people are buying and gifting more home goods and kitchen products than before.
Another option which has gained traction due to the pandemic is gifting virtual experiences. Online wine tastings or a virtual game session for a group of friends are just two such examples, which have gained popularity.
One manager at Old Navy at the Dolphin Mall confirms she has seen a decline in in-person shopping leading up to Black Friday.
Still, many brick and mortar stores aim to attract customers by encouraging mask wearing, social distancing and shopping by appointment. Some stores offer curbside pick-up, which means customers can place their orders online, pull up to the store and have their items delivered to them without even having to get out of the car.