5 Big Ways COVID-19 Will Impact Black Friday and Cyber Monday

This year has been filled with change, so it’s no surprise that Black Friday and Cyber Monday will also look a little different in 2020. Luckily for us, the deals and discounts aren’t going away; they’re just shifting to meet the needs of the “new normal.” Below, we’ve rounded up five big ways that Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be different this year, so you can get your shopping strategy in order.

1. Deals will be adjusted to match our “new normal” shopping habits.

The largest changes we’ll see for Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the types of products and deals within all of the popular categories. Our shopping habits have changed drastically in the past 10 months, and the smartest retailers are paying attention. Expect smart home products from Google and Apple to be at the forefront, followed by televisions, home goods and clothing. The Xbox Series X and S drop this year along with Sony’s Playstation 5, so those will be hot ticket items.

Home-cooked meals have made a comeback in 2020, so we’re also expecting kitchen appliances like air fryers and pressure cookers to dominate wishlists once again this holiday season.

2. Deals will start early and extend beyond Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Deals will start much earlier in 2020, and many stores have already started to release their plans for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Of course, the major shopping event to watch this year is Amazon’s Prime Day event happening October 13 to 14. However, it’s not the first event of the season. Those honors go to Walmart and its Big Save Event, which is set to start two days earlier on October 11. The sale runs through the 15th and you can enjoy free shipping on orders over $35.

Not to be outdone, Target is also getting in on the action and hosting its annual Deal Days event starting October 13. Target plans to double the amount of deals it offered last year with more than a million deals to be had through the holiday season. The retailer has also extended its price matching to ensure you’re getting the best possible price on your entire list.

If you’re ordering online, just be sure you do it early. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that shipping delays will likely be an issue during the holiday shopping season.

3. Curbside and contactless pickup will be offered almost everywhere.

Black Friday is a holiday known for in-store promotions. In fact, doorbusters are what separate the holiday from all others. Doorbuster or early bird deals are often extremely limited and hard to come by anyways, so it may not matter all that much to the majority of shoppers. Cyber Monday has always been a digital event, but this year we are expecting crossover between the holidays. You can expect a range of convenient shopping options with a heavy focus on curbside, contactless and next-day or same-day pickup for online orders. There hasn’t been much talk about returns yet, but given the extended return policies put in place during COVID-19, we’d expect the same level of service for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. 

Check out these stores that offer curbside and contactless pickup plus Cash Back, so you can plan accordingly.


4. In-store promotions will be limited, if they’re offered at all.

With a heavy focus on contactless and curbside pickup, we may see no in-store promotions, doorbusters or early bird deals this year. Instead, expect stores to get creative and potentially offer a wider range of heavily discounted items online. For instance, Bed Bath and Beyond is offering “Holiday Daily Deals” where you’ll be able to shop one hot item per day. Walmart still plans to have some in-store deals and is taking the health and safety of its shoppers seriously. More on that below.

5. Safe shopping will be a major focus in stores and for essential workers.

This might feel like a given, but it’s important to know that stores are taking health and safety measures seriously to protect customers and employees alike. If you are going to shop in person, be prepared for extra social distancing measures, potentially long lines and know that retailers are working hard to make the holiday shopping experience as easy as possible. Mask requirements vary by retailer, but most major chains are requiring face coverings.

It’s also comforting to know that stores are putting safety measures in place to keep their employees healthy and safe. None of this would be possible without the hard-working people who keep everything moving whether it’s in a brick-and-mortar location or a warehouse shipping out orders.

We’ve talked a lot about how Black Friday and Cyber Monday will change this year, but one thing that won’t be changing this holiday shopping season is your ability to earn Cash Back with Rakuten. Make sure you’re signed up before the early shopping events and get that list ready. Happy deal hunting!

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