Holiday Shopping in 2020 Seems to be More Stressful than Usual
Thanksgiving night is a night that many look forward to as it is the so-called kick-off to the Holiday season, also known as “Black Friday.” “Black Friday” usually fills up malls across the country with people looking for the holiday sales and deals. The continuation of COVID has caused many traditions to look different this year and as American head into the holiday season many traditions are prolonged. This year many businesses had to think of new ways to get families holiday sales while also keeping COVID and the health of their customers in mind.
Although many malls and retail stores are open to customers in some states, these businesses couldn’t have as many shoppers as usual on “Black Friday” while also following precautions. Some stores chose to regulate the number of customers in person, but most people chose to stay home this year leaving the stores bare.
Luckily with the accessible technology in today’s day of age, holiday shopping wasn’t completely canceled this year. In a New York Times article published on November 30th, authors find that, “Consumers spent $9 billion online on Friday, a 21.6 increase from last year and the second-biggest figure for online retailers ever, according to Adobe Analytics, which scans 80 percent of online transactions across the top 100 U.S. web retailers. The firm said online sales rose to $23.5 billion in the four-day Thanksgiving-to-Sunday period, up 23 percent from last year.” Although many decided to shop online this year for “Black Friday” many stores have been offering more frequent sales to customers during this pandemic.
To regulate the number of customers shopping in stores, many businesses have started their holiday promotions and sales before the official season. Around Halloween, advertisements for holiday sales began which differed from any other year. Authors of the New York Times article proceed to explain, “ Major retailers started offering deals well before Halloween, a shift that was amplified by Amazon’s decision to hold its annual Prime Day event in the middle of October. Consumers have been encouraged to shop early to avoid shipping delays. Chains have replicated deals once limited to stores on their websites and canceled visits with Santa Claus to minimize crowds.” This was a major way for stores to be able to continue to stay open for the convenience of their customers, but also to prevent the back up of online orders.
“Stores may have to shut down again so I started my holiday shopping earlier than I usually would, due to these uncertain times,” says Tara Ostrowski, a local parent in Nutley. “I did a lot of online shopping as well to avoid the holiday crowds. We also put our Christmas decorations up a little earlier this year to put everyone in a happy and festive mood which is much needed in 2020!”
Throughout 2020, many businesses and customers have been struggling to keep up with consumer spending which has slowed down economic activity throughout the U.S. Millions have become unemployed due to the pandemic along with many businesses closing. Small businesses, especially, have been struggling to stay alive due to the loss of customers in this past year. Many have found the importance of supporting small businesses this holiday season now more than ever. “I have shopped and supported many small businesses during the pandemic and especially this holiday season,” says Tara Ostrowski. “It is important to help them since they have lost a lot of business during this time.” Supporting small local businesses, whether it is the holidays or not, is impacting the well-being of the community along with local families throughout this unexpected time.
Appreciation and Gratitude are something that many have realized due to the pandemic, especially as the holidays approach us. Many have lost the ability to do things that were a part of their everyday life that felt like second nature. Holiday shopping is usually chaotic and stressful every year, but this year it is especially important to keep in mind and be fortunate for what you already have. Focusing on supporting local businesses, donating toys, or donating food are small ways to give back this 2020 holiday season through this pandemic.