© 2024 WRVO Public Media
NPR News for Central New York
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Stay up to date with the latest news on the coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. We'll post regular updates from NPR and regional news from the WRVO newsroom. You can also find updates on our live blog.

Holiday shopping 2020: Fewer doorbusters, more online sales could delay deliveries

Ellen Abbott
WRVO Public Media
Destiny USA in Syracuse.

Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year, will be different as COVID-19 restrictions have limited in-person shopping, and demand intensifies online. The deals and promotions started weeks in advance.In past years, stores have been opening earlier on Black Friday, going into Thanksgiving, as shoppers camp outside, waiting for the best deals. But this year, many stores were closed on Thanksgiving. Ray Wimer, a professor of retail practice at the Whitman School at Syracuse University, said retailers are getting rid of the big doorbuster deals on TVs and electronics that sell out in the first hour.

“What they’ve tried to do is take away that to reduce density, to reduce the crush, because in past years, we’ve seen what’s happened outside of Walmarts and Targets across the country, with pushing and shoving,” Wimer said.

Businesses have adjusted to COVID-19 safety precautions, because of how much they were impacted by lockdowns in the spring, and how dependent they are on staying open right now, to remain viable. Wimer anticipates there will be even more online shopping and there could be a delivery backup by mid-December.

“If you’re going to holiday shop, you better make sure you’re done by Cyber Monday, because I wouldn’t guarantee delivery dates,” Wimer said.

Despite being in the orange zone of COVID restrictions, Destiny USA in Syracuse is open on Black Friday. Marketing director Nikita Jankowski said businesses have been doing Black Friday deals early and also have curbside and in-store pickup.

“Our tenants are offering different ways for people to get in and still get their purchase without having to congregate with all the lines,” Jankowski said.

Visitor traffic at the mall has been mixed, depending on the day.

“We’re like in an alternate universe right now, as far as what’s going to happen and what’s going on,” Jankowski said.

One tradition that will continue is Santa will be at the mall, and kids can get a picture with him, 10-14 feet away.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.