Most shoppers plan to skip in-store Black Friday sales because of COVID

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A majority of shoppers will likely avoid in-store Black Friday sales due to the pandemic, polling shows.

Over two-thirds of respondents, 69.3%, said they will either “definitely” not participate or are “less likely” to partake in Black Friday sales in person for fear of becoming infected with the coronavirus, according to polling conducted by office supply store Staples.

Roughly 20% of respondents said there is no amount of savings that will convince them to participate in Black Friday shopping this year.

As Thanksgiving approaches, the number of new COVID-19 cases is on the rise.

Over 65,000 people were admitted to hospitals with COVID-19 on Wednesday, according to the COVID Tracking Project, the highest total for the United States during the pandemic, eclipsing the initial outbreak in the spring. The reported count of daily cases was over 144,000 on Wednesday, the highest for the pandemic.

The pandemic has prompted retailers, such as Best Buy, Macy’s, and Target, to start offering sales on holiday items earlier in the year. The sales normally start on the Friday after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday.

The reason for the shift is to make up for lost revenue due to the pandemic by providing consumers ample opportunity to shop for the holidays. This is also because many retailers must continue to comply with occupancy constraints that range from 25% to 40%, according to Keith Jelinek, a managing director in the retail performance improvement practice at consulting firm Berkeley Research Group.

“We’re not going to see the crowds in any of the stores and malls that we have in the past around a typical holiday time frame,” he said.

A mere 2.6% of respondents said they will definitely participate in Black Friday in-store sales, according to the poll from Staples.





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