With surging COVID-19 cases, Black Friday shoppers chose to shop online, rather than in stores compared to previous years. Many shoppers took to both online and curbside pickup to avoid personal contact with others while many states are currently on lockdown once again.
In Bloomington, Minnesota a Mall of America was reported to have several hundred shoppers lining outside their doors on Black Friday. Although the mall has been known to attract several thousand during the busiest shopping day of the year, it still came as a shock to many after social distancing recommendations had been given.
Prior to Thanksgiving the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) announced the “higher risk activities” for this holiday season included “shopping in crowded stores just before, on, or after Thanksgiving.” The CDC urged many to stay indoors after reporting more than 1 million COVID-19 cases in only a week.
This year’s online sales surpassed 2019’s record in which $5.1 billion was spent on online gifts and self purchases. Large retail companies saw a surge of up to 233% in online sales only weeks ahead of the holiday season. This news comes after many retail companies were forced to file for bankruptcy following the increase in COVID-19 cases.
After the first lockdown in March which caused non-essential businesses, such as retail stores to close, many businesses began to struggle and see a decline in sales. Bankruptcy was only the beginning of what retail companies have struggled with throughout the pandemic.
Both Black Friday and Cyber Monday were expected to see an increase in online sales of up to $8.9 billion and $10.6 billion according to Adobe Analytics. With sales being offered throughout the entire month, most customers did not feel the need to rush out on Black Friday like in previous years.