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  • - [Narrator] For years, the cornerstone

  • of the holiday shopping season has been Black Friday.

  • (crowd screaming)

  • - [Reporter] In Buffalo, New York,

  • shoppers stampeded at Target.

  • - And the crowds just keep getting bigger and bigger.

  • This place is packed with people

  • and it has been since five o'clock.

  • - Not only is it a time of sales,

  • but it helps people psychologically,

  • helps those shoppers think,

  • "Oh yeah, Christmas is coming, Hanukkah is coming.

  • I'm gonna be with my family.

  • Let me start buying things."

  • - [Narrator] Waking up at the crack of dawn

  • to rush into stores became somewhat

  • of a holiday tradition for many families.

  • - These are deadly discounts!

  • (indistinguishable shouting)

  • - [Narrator] But this year is shaping up to look different.

  • - What the pandemic has done is actually accelerate

  • the trends that we'd seen.

  • And that is a move to contactless, a move to convenience,

  • really a move toward digital

  • instead of traditional shopping experience.

  • So I think that's gonna be a lasting change

  • that we see as a result.

  • - [Narrator] The shopping tradition dates back

  • to the 1920s and 30s when families would start

  • buying holiday gifts the day after Thanksgiving.

  • Traditionally, this was the first day that retailers

  • would start advertising for Christmas.

  • But by the 2000s, companies were announcing

  • Black Friday door buster deals earlier and earlier.

  • (crowd screams)

  • - [Reporter] Target stores opened at five this morning

  • and there were plenty of excited shoppers on hand.

  • - So there were these few horrific moments

  • where people were dying or getting seriously injured

  • because of people rushing into a building.

  • - [Narrator] Some department stores were opening at midnight

  • and within a few years,

  • the deals were creeping into Thanksgiving day.

  • By the 2010s, the one day event had ballooned

  • to cover the full holiday weekend.

  • But around this time, retailers were also launching

  • more online sales on the Monday after Thanksgiving.

  • This was known as Cyber Monday and it was growing fast.

  • In 2016, Cyber Monday sales hit a new record

  • of nearly three and a half billion dollars.

  • Digital became much more important to the consumer.

  • So what we found was Cyber Monday actually started

  • to take on a heightened importance.

  • - [Narrator] For many companies, thanksgiving weekend,

  • starting with Black Friday and stretching into Cyber Monday

  • is one of the most lucrative times of the year.

  • But recently appetite for the chaos of Black Friday

  • has started to fade.

  • And then in 2020, the retail industry

  • and how people shopped changed.

  • - Retailers across the country announcing closures

  • and shortening their store hours

  • in the hopes of limiting the outbreak.

  • - Add in the coronavirus pandemic

  • and there are retailers that may not survive.

  • - We've seen massive amounts of retail closings,

  • accelerated bankruptcies this year.

  • That means there's probably gonna be fewer stores

  • and there might be more of a consolidation

  • in where people go to some of these big box stores

  • that have been open and operating the whole time.

  • - [Narrator] During lock downs in March and April,

  • spending slid off a cliff,

  • with a record drop in retail sales as people were forced

  • to stay home due to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Between April and October, around five thousand US stores

  • went out of business.

  • But even the retailers that had weathered the pandemic

  • are changing the way they operate.

  • - This year, retailers for the first time in modern memory,

  • are saying we're not gonna be open on Thanksgiving.

  • Black Friday, we'll be open the day afterwards,

  • but on Thanksgiving, deals are online.

  • - [Narrator] When stores open, consumers can expect

  • limited hours and capacity, curbside pickups,

  • and a much calmer atmosphere than years past.

  • - When folks go in a store, they're wearing a mask,

  • they're being counted,

  • and stores are being cleaned all the time.

  • - [Narrator] But perhaps the biggest change of them all,

  • the shift to online shopping.

  • A recent survey found that 70% of consumers

  • plan to shop online more than normal

  • to avoid crowds and exposure to the coronavirus.

  • But this doesn't mean that brick and mortar stores

  • will disappear entirely.

  • - We mostly still shop in stores, even now.

  • Even in a pandemic.

  • I know folks have been talking for years

  • about the fact that stores would just slowly disappear.

  • Shopping will change, how we discover products will change.

  • - [Narrator] And how these products get delivered

  • will change too.

  • As a result of the shift to online shopping,

  • eCommerce stores are facing major delivery logistics

  • and shopping hurdles this year.

  • During the beginning of the pandemic,

  • consumers were faced with month-long delays

  • as ports closed and supply chains broke down.

  • Now the question is whether shipping companies

  • can handle the mass influx of online orders

  • that are expected over the next two months.

  • - A big reason that retailers are pushing people

  • to shop online early is to spread out sales

  • and give a little breathing room

  • to the eCommerce supply chains.

  • - [Narrator] But right now,

  • the numbers don't look too promising.

  • The shipping industry is expected to be

  • more than four million packages over capacity

  • during the peak of the holiday season this year.

  • - It's gonna be really hard to order something

  • two days before Christmas and have it arrive.

  • That literally might not be an option

  • even if you're willing to pay 50 bucks for shipping.

  • Because there won't be capacity to get it to you.

  • Which could push people to stores.

  • - [Narrator] But at the same time,

  • many have lost their jobs due to the pandemic this year

  • and may not have the ability to buy gifts.

  • - We have around 20 million people on unemployment.

  • There was a little bit of a false sense of security

  • that came because we got big stimulus checks in the spring.

  • There was additional unemployment that people were getting

  • until the end of July.

  • A lot of that is gone or up in the air

  • and hasn't really been resolved.

  • So, retailers are definitely ready for lots of consumers

  • not to feel like buying at all or buying a lot less.

  • And even for folks who have jobs,

  • I think my sense is talking to retailers and consultants,

  • those folks are saving a lot more,

  • which points to a little bit of caution.

  • - [Narrator] This means that certain retailers

  • that cater to pandemic living,

  • like groceries and home improvement,

  • could continue to see profits

  • while those that would traditionally see big sales

  • around Black Friday, such as clothing and toys,

  • could see bigger losses.

  • The past year has upended the retail industry

  • and shaken up what is traditionally

  • the biggest sales period of the year,

  • but most notably, 2020 has solidified

  • the trend towards online shopping as a permanent part

  • of the retail industries future.

- [Narrator] For years, the cornerstone

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B1 US WSJ narrator black friday shopping thanksgiving online

How 2020 Is Reshaping Black Friday | WSJ

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    joey joey posted on 2021/05/31
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