SCOTTSDALE, AZ — Black Friday may not have looked or felt the same this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and more Americans staying home and doing their shopping online; however, Old Town Scottsdale was busy on Friday with many people walking in and out of several shops.
"We've actually been busy, luckily, so we have a lot of tourists coming into town and we have a huge local following so we're very grateful for that," said David Spriggs, who owns Leela Market, a local shop on Fifth Avenue that sells clothing, glasses, and Arizona-inspired products.
Most of the time, shops in Old Town rely on foot traffic. While that is still the case, some shops are also shifting their focus to online shopping, too.
"What we're doing is putting some sales on our website and we're passing out cards telling everyone about ordering online," said Mary Witte, of Giving Bracelets, which sells bracelets and handbags.
Over at Zoolikins, which sells baby goods, has also focused on its digital marketing and e-commerce to help boost sales and expand its customer base.
"Just having more of a plan with our social media presence (and) not so much just winging it, but doing it more intentionally. Making sure that our website is super clean and user-friendly. Curating product that's unique," said Libby Anderson, who is in charge of Zoolikins' creative marketing.
The emphasis on online shopping is part of a national trend, said Hitendra Chaturvedi, a professor of practice at Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business and specializes in supply chain management.
“The amount of online shopping, which used to be the domain of only the Amazon’s of the world, has now percolated down all the way to small businesses and medium businesses," he said.
Despite the pandemic going on, holiday spending is expected to be the same, if not more, than 2019, he said. However, a larger chunk of those sales will be made online.
In 2019, Americans spent nearly $160 billion. This year, that spending is projected to reach $300 billion, he said.
"Social media shopping has been a saving grace for many of the small businesses because one, it's not expensive and it's very personal, which is the most important thing for a small business," he said.
Local First Arizona, a non-profit organization that promotes Arizona-owned businesses, recently launched an online marketplace featuring hundreds of local businesses and their products, to support them during the holidays.