Pandemic changes Black Friday shopping

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Christmas tree and holiday decorations are up at River Park Shopping Center in North Fresno ready for customers, even in the pandemic.

"It sounds like deals are going to be throughout the month and not on one particular day because they can't draw the crowds. So it's going to be little deals throughout the weeks," said Tracy Kashian, Lance Kashian & Co. VP Marketing & Public Relations.

Marketing officials tell us they're taking steps to keep people safe while they shop and follow state guidelines.

Experts say the days of the Black Friday frenzy may be gone. Marketing expert Dr. William Rice expects crowds to be half or less this year.

"The whole psychology of COVID, the whole issue of what I call buyer fatigue, the whole issue of price exaggeration. All those things have worn people down to the point where people say, 'You know, I'm just going to stay home. I can always order it on Amazon," said Dr. William E. Rice, marketing expert.

He says that impacts sales tax and our local economy. We spoke with one Clovis mother who says she'll avoid the crowds.

"I stay at home and I wait for the deals online, catch those and wait for them to arrive at my home," said Brittany Cifranic of Clovis.

According to coupon website "Retail Me Not," Americans plan to spend an average of $908 on shopping over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are expected to be the two busiest days.

However, fewer people plan to shop over the holiday weekend this year 68% that's down from 78% last year over concern about COVID and crowds.

As for small businesses, experts say these next few months could be crucial.

"Just supporting them and continue shopping, getting food to go and curbside pickup and hopefully buying your Christmas presents here locally through these tenants to keep them up and running because they have had a very tough eight months so far," Kashian said.
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