Black Friday 2020: More Americans will shop more online than in stores for first time ever, poll claims

Shoppers, may your coffee – and Wi-Fi – be strong.

A new poll predicts that more consumers will do their Black Friday shopping online than in stores this year for the first time ever, instead of making a mad dash to brick and mortar retailers on the day after Thanksgiving.

Deloitte recently surveyed 1,200 shoppers from October to November, and found that 58% plan to shop the super sales online, marking a notable channel switch from the in-store experience. Among those polled, 41% said they still plan to go shopping in person on Nov. 27.

In comparison, 61% went out browsing on Black Friday last year. The sizable drop is attributed to COVID-19 concerns amid the pandemic.

Generally speaking, shoppers will drop an average of $401 during the holiday shopping weekend from Thursday to Monday; the survey said the sum was down slightly year-over-year, "likely due to financial and health concerns." To that end, 57% said they're anxious about shopping in person this holiday season amid the ongoing outbreak.


In-store shoppers cited a slew of reasons for heading out on the big day; 74% said they liked to shop in stores to size up the best deals and steals, while 46% cited the experience as a favorite tradition with family or friends. Moreover, 27% of shopaholics said the “overall excitement of the day” is what sends them out the door.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended Black Friday shoppers to stick to buying online. For those who insist on going in person, the CDC has advised to shop in open-air markets, wear masks and maintain social distancing, as well as to use contactless services for purchases.

Deloitte acknowledged that dozens of retailers began building up buzz for the busy, pre-holiday shopping season this year around the third week of October, near Amazon’s Prime Day, to heed this year’s unique “health and safety concerns” and start incentivizing consumers to spend – and it worked. Year over year, sales shot up 6% that week, per InSightIQ data.

In a larger sense, however, the frenzied future of Black Friday buying remains to be determined.

“How shoppers respond to a longer promotional period is yet to be seen, but consumers have shown throughout the pandemic that they are taking changes in stride, trying to make the most of the season, and finding ways to reinvent traditions,” the company wrote.

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