NEW YORK — Remember what Black Friday used to look like? Stampedes of people rushing into department stores before dawn to get those must-have deals. Are those days gone for good?
That one day, in-person shopping experience of the past looks a lot different now. Covid protocols made some retailers shift to online sales in 2020, with many stores now closing on Thanksgiving day. Sites like Amazon have attracted holiday shoppers with Prime Day sales as early as October and other retailers have followed suit.
“The Black Friday of lining up overnight to get into the store is no longer. When we survey consumers about their Black Friday plans 37 percent believe that they’re going to get the best Black Friday deals online." That's from retail & e-commerce analyst Claire Tassin. "Black Friday happens, you know, all season long. It's three months long now.”
Big box stores like Walmart and Target have been pushing Black Friday deals weeks early. Shoppers could see even more discounts this year, because retailers are overstocked with excess inventory, they want to clear out of warehouses to get ready for next season. It's a win-win for consumers hard-hit by inflation.
And even though the dynamics of Black Friday have changed, analysts say it's shaping up to be a record-breaking year for weekend shopping. The National Retail Federation expects half the country - more than 166 million people - to shop from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. Shopping may look less crowded this year, but it's still a really big day for retailers.