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How does COVID affect Black Friday sales?Stores “significantly shrink”, experts say – CBS New York

(CBS Detroit) — COVID-19, like everything else, will have a dramatic impact on this year’s Black Friday. Some of these effects are already seen in the expansion of the holiday shopping season, which has continued since mid-October. Other implications become even more apparent over the long Thanksgiving weekend.

Once upon a time, Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving, marked the beginning of the holiday shopping season. The name comes from the day retailers see their balance sheets change from red to black. Jie Zhang, a professor of marketing and retail management at the Robert H. Smith Business School at the University of Maryland, said: They turn black during the shopping season, Friday after Thanksgiving. That is, they change from red to black. So this is the first day they start to make a profit. Obviously, it’s never accurate. “

The holiday shopping season has been long for some time. In recent years, transactions booked after Black Friday have appeared in early November. And this year, it seems that holiday shopping is in full swing before Halloween. Thanks to Amazon.

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“Amazon basically started the holiday shopping season on Prime Day and moved on October 13th and 14th,” says Zhang. “And it’s essentially like an informal kick-off for this holiday shopping season. Amazon, as well as some major retailers, make their own deals on the exact same day or at about the same time. And shortly thereafter, many other retailers followed. So they traded on holidays, or as they call them, Black Friday trades, or Black Friday, even before Halloween. Started offering transactions like. “

A hard push to expand the holiday shopping season makes a lot of sense. Prime Day previously helped start the new semester shopping season in late July. However, there were many uncertainties about what school education would take. Will the children actually go back to school? Previous grades have a mixture of in-school and distance learning, and as the pandemic continues, more and more children are fully distanced.

Recently, the number of COVID cases has broken records on a daily basis. Many countries remain largely homecoming, or at least minimize their exposure to the outside world. This means less in-store shopping and more online shopping. This is another long-term trend in which COVID is accelerating, with retailers moving from in-store to online. But how does it work on the biggest shopping day of the year?

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For many, the Black Friday shopping experience is a high point during the holiday season. “Many consumers have a family tradition of going shopping on Black Friday for fun, excitement, and social experience,” says Zhang. “But with the proliferation of pandemics in the country and around the world, and growing concerns about health and safety in the minds of consumers, many of these consumers are shrinking to stay at home or opt for online shopping instead. I’m going to the store. Sure, this is one thing that makes next Friday a lot different from what I’ve seen in the past. “

“Store-based retailers and retailers who focus on in-store operations don’t just throw towels and give up the fight,” Zhang continues. “They are doing everything they can to attract at least some shoppers to the store.”

However, what physical stores can do to attract customers is severely limited by the ongoing COVID crisis. “They are shrinking significantly,” says Zhang. “For example, in shopping centers, we know that many shopping centers host encounters with Santa and photo shoots with Santa each year as a way to get families into the shopping center. And of course, that. Traffic spills over to retail tenants, and this year some shopping malls have decided to cancel it. Others are offering virtual events like virtual meetings with Santa. “

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By definition, virtual meetings are not face-to-face and are not people coming and going in stores. “Nevertheless, they are still doing some of that, and more and more online orders, in-store pick-ups, or curbside pick-ups are being offered,” Zhang continues. “And this is, first of all, one way to meet the booming online demand, and second, to try to divert some of the traffic to the store, even for a short time. . “

For shoppers who appear, they will probably find a somewhat more subdued experience than they used to be. According to Zhang, “Store retailers need to strengthen safety and hygiene measures, crowd control, and keep employees and customers at a sufficient distance … essentially seen from the beginning of the pandemic. It’s a common sense measure, and I think the general public is aware of the need to be more educated and practice good safety measures, as well as businesses. “

All this assumes that stores and malls are allowed to remain open in the face of a surge in COVID cases. On Tuesday, the country killed 1,707 people. This is the best total in 6 months. Deaths across the country have exceeded 250,000, and cases are increasing this week in most states. Some parts of the country may face another blockade situation that closes non-essential stores, such as people shopping on holidays.

“When the pandemic began, shopping centers were one of the first types of facilities to be closed and have been closed for the longest time,” Zhang points out. “So I don’t know how that aspect will evolve or if some shopping centers will not be able to continue to operate. Obviously, it will affect all the stores in the shopping center.”

This year’s Black Friday, if it happens, can’t convey the spirit of the season like it did in the last few years, but that experience will never be lost. A widely administered vaccine will theoretically end the pandemic. If it’s in time for the next holiday shopping season, Black Friday could come back.

“Assuming the pandemic is over, the vaccine is widely available, and people aren’t worried about safety and health,” Zhang speculates. “I think Black Friday-type events, in-store events will resume, after all, because shopping has some big social elements. And many people are especially special, like Black Friday. On occasion, I really enjoy the social experiences associated with shopping. As I said, many shoppers actually have that family tradition. Not necessarily the best deals. You don’t have to put it in, but to hurry and enjoy the excitement with your loved ones. “

How does COVID affect Black Friday sales?Stores “significantly shrink”, experts say – CBS New York

Source link How does COVID affect Black Friday sales?Stores “significantly shrink”, experts say – CBS New York

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