Black Friday and Cyber Monday, that four-day bargain binge that shoppers around the world wait for every year, is fast approaching, but this Nov. 27 is going to be a very different shopping experience.
No more door busters, mobbed aisles and frenzied shoppers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States has classified “shopping at crowded stores just before, on or after Thanksgiving” on a list of higher-risk activities to avoid, reports USA Today.
Walmart has already announced it will close on Thanksgiving Day, a first since the late 1980s. Target, Best Buy and other big brands are doing the same.
Nor will Canadians be flocking over the border to swarm the stores down south.
The pandemic, however, has not dulled shopper’s interest in Black Friday and Cyber Monday, a new survey by Shopify reveals. Two thirds (67%) of U.S. consumers surveyed say they plan to shop during the four-day marathon this year. In Canada it’s 50%, France, 67%, and Germany 61%, which is comparable to or even higher than last year.
They also plan to spend more. Americans see themselves laying out US$686, Canadians, $481. In Britain, shoppers expect to spend £376, France, €466 and Germany €389.
But most of that shopping will not be in actual stores. The survey found more than half of Canadian shoppers (52%) plan to shop online only during the Black Friday, Cyber Monday weekend. In the U.S. it’s 49%, the U.K. 62%, Germany (53%), Australia (53%).
Another hefty share, 48% in the U.S., plan to shop online and in stores, but only 3% plan to shop in stores only.
And for bargain hunters, here’s the best part. Because of limits to how many people can be in a store and concerns about the timing of deliveries, sales are starting earlier this year and lasting longer.
“The concentrated four-day period traditionally marked by deep discounts and promotions has now evolved into a broader holiday shopping season,” said Shopify.
More than half of Shopify’s merchants surveyed said they believed consumers would start their holiday shopping before Black Friday this year, and they started preparing in September. About 20% of shoppers in Canada and the United States said they have started looking for Black Friday deals online and many big brands have already announced best-price sales to be staggered through November.
Shopify said the extended Black Friday, Cyber Monday season gives retailers more time to prepare for the hike in online orders and fluctuating inventory.
Curbside pickup and local delivery have substantially increased during the pandemic as more retailers moved online and it is having a “significant business impact.”
On average shoppers who chose these options spent 23% more.