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Holiday shopping season shifts amid the pandemic

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Posted at 5:32 PM, Nov 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-11 20:26:30-05

PHOENIX — Before some families even finished their Thanksgiving Day dishes, lines would form outside of stores across the Valley in previous years for Black Friday.

But packed stores will not be an option this year with the coronavirus pandemic.

"I don't think there's going to be one Black Friday," said Hitendra Chaturvedi. "I think they will create many more Black Fridays all the way up to Christmas."

Chaturvedi is a professor of Supply Chain Management at Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business.

He said, we are already seeing big box stores, like Target, Walmart, etc., offer online deals now to consumers.

"Give or take anywhere close to $700 billion of holiday sales, e-commerce... just last year, 12 to 13% of the total," Chaturvedi said. "This year, it's projected to be 40%."

With a longer season of savings, Chaturvedi believes this may help consumers and the economy. With a paycheck coming for people every couple of weeks, they can then stagger their gift-buying.

He also believes the types of things we buy will change and that will help certain industries this season.

"Anything related to our houses... you're going to see - kitchen appliances, things are related to baking, home-improvement, tools," Chaturvedi listed off.

However, this will still be a difficult shopping season with many people out of work due to the virus.

"If we are just above water for this holiday season... if we are in the 600 - 700-billion-dollar retail sale, if we are in the 400,000 retail employment numbers... I would call it a win," said Chaturvedi.

But what consumers buy in the holiday shopping season is not a big deal to our economy.

"In the larger scheme of things, that's small," Chaturvedi explained. "But that's retail and if the numbers come out good it shows, for me, that's the harbinger of the mood that we have for next year."

"Happiness during holiday season creates a catalyst that overflows into next year and next year's economic numbers," said Chaturvedi.