The Black Friday sales are hands down the biggest shopping event of the year in the U.S., with major retailers and small businesses alike offering deep discounts on their merchandise from the period between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday.
In case there was any doubt about just how much retail activity these sales generate: In 2019, Americans spent $7.2 billion on Black Friday alone, with another $9.4 billion on Cyber Monday, according to Salesforce.com. Both figures were an increase from the previous year.
The growth in spending is a typical Black Friday trend. Each year, it seems that the Black Friday extravaganza gets longer, the discounts get deeper, and the shoppers spend more. But this year, with the Coronavirus pandemic looming, and retailers already announcing major shifts in their holiday sales strategies, things will likely look a lot different.
Here, we're rounding up what we know about Black Friday so far, what will change, and -- once they're announced -- the best sales to shop in-stores and online.
- Can't wait for the Black Friday sales? Check out the latest news on Amazon Prime Day.
When is Black Friday this year?
Black Friday is always the day after Thanksgiving. This year, it falls on Friday, November 27, 2020.
Small Business Saturday is Saturday, November 28, 2020.
Cyber Monday is Monday, November 30, 2020.
What will be different about Black Friday sales this year?
To put it simply: A lot.
Black Friday typically draws millions of shoppers to retail stores and malls over Thanksgiving weekend, something that's obviously not ideal in the midst of a global pandemic. Many retailers are operating at partial capacity, and social distancing remains an essential strategy in preventing the spread of the virus.
These days, it's not atypical to see a long line forming outside a retailer during normal business operation simply due to capacity limits. It's hard to fathom what lines at the most popular stores would look like on Black Friday, when shoppers have been known to camp out overnight to snag a spot in line.
To combat overcrowding, retailers are already announcing changes to their Black Friday sales plans.
Walmart took the lead when, in late July, they announced their plans to close their stores on Thanksgiving Day, typically the day in-person sales begin.
On Monday, July 27, Target and Dick's Sporting Goods followed suit, announcing that their stores would be closed on Thanksgiving Day, too. Target also shared plans to begin rolling out holiday season deals as early as October to help curb the typical holiday season shopping rush.
None of the retailers have since gone into detail about store capacity or sales plans for Black Friday itself.
The best Black Friday sales 2020
We'll be tracking the best holiday and Black Friday sales as they're announced, below.