Black Friday – a day known nationally as the biggest shopping day of the year, where the lowest prices of the year take the wallets of consumers. Televisions have filled up in the past with videos of people camping outside in lines reaching the streets, fights breaking out and people getting trampled.
When the pandemic hit, consumers’ in-person shopping experiences were not available anymore, so they turned to online shopping.
This change played a heavy role in the decision of the biggest players in the Black Friday retailer market, such as Target, Walmart and Best Buy, to keep their stores closed on Thanksgiving, keeping Black Friday actually on the Friday after Thanksgiving instead of starting on the holiday.
“On Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, Target CEO Brian Cornell communicated to all Target team members that Target stores will be closed on Thanksgiving Day moving forward,” wrote Target.
“Walmart announced all U.S. store locations will close for Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25, as a ‘thank you’ to associates for their continued hard work during the pandemic,” wrote Walmart.
“No. Best Buy retail stores will not be open on Thanksgiving Day,” wrote Best Buy.
The insanity of the yearly sale took a hiatus, which turned into something apparently permanent.
Some shoppers said Friday that not having to worry about the chaos of the Thanksgiving night shopping experience has provided much relief — they can now stay with their families on the holiday and go shopping during the day, without the fear of missing out on the best deals.
“Before, it used to be a going at night sort of thing,” said Best Buy shopper Artemio Alanis, “but now we’re able to go during the daytime just because everyone else does online, so it’s much easier.”
As Alanis referenced, the pandemic shifted many consumers to the online experience. However, this does not count out the people who still enjoy making their way to the stores for the instant satisfaction of the shopping experience.
“I don’t like it (referring to online shopping),” said Target shopper Herman Sharaf. “I’m old school. I like in-store shopping. I like to look.”
Sharaf is a toy collector. He did not intend to participate in Black Friday shopping, but he figured he would check to see if there were any deals he missed.
He was very surprised to see that his fear of the crowds was not needed.
“I assumed that there would be crowds, but this actually does surprise me because it feels like a regular day,” said Sharaf. “It’s gotta be online. That probably is a big part of it.”
Best Buy’s foot traffic was heavier than Target’s, but still nothing compared to pre-pandemic levels.
The main reason for the traffic on Friday: the Samsung 75-inch smart TV for $580.
“That’s been the big-ticket item,” said Best Buy employee David Kayne. “It has been pretty much nonstop for a few hours.”