Rising COVID Rates Made Many Black Friday Shoppers Skip the Malls This Year

On Black Friday the standard throngs of people searching for deals was largely absent from the King of Prussia Mall and Willow Grove Mall this year. Image via Kenny Cooper/WHYY.

For months analysts have been speculating how much the pandemic restrictions would change the typical holiday shopping season. On Black Friday, we saw one of the first indicators, with the standard throngs of people searching for deals largely absent from the malls this year.

As reported by Kenny Cooper for WHYY, the King of Prussia mall saw a much diminished turnout. Evidently the warnings about the second wave of rising COVID cases is being taken seriously by many shoppers, who opted to shop for deals from home.

For those who did dare to venture out, most were not taking the situation lightly either. Emily Senkow was one shopper at the King of Prussia Mall, who said, “The second wave has scared me a lot more than the first one, so I was a little nervous coming, but we social-distanced from everyone and wore masks.”

Others, however, only complied begrudgingly. At the Willow Grove Mall shopper Bryan Dubeck said, “For me personally, I could do without it. I’ll roll the dice and take my chances, but for the sake of other people, I just deal with it.”

For the part of the retailers, many seemed to expect, and even hope, for a reduced turnout. A lot of stores have signs notifying shoppers that they can shop from the store online, or schedule an in-store pickup instead. And for the shoppers who did decide to come out, retailers were enforcing limited occupancy in their stores.

In past years, retailers have seemed nervous about cyber deals encroaching on their business. With this year’s circumstances, stores now seem like they may be looking forward to their online clientele, both for the sake of safety, and the expectation that that is where they will be deriving a lot of their business this year.

It remains to be seen what the dollar numbers are going to be for Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, but it is likely a safe assumption that this will be one of the biggest years for online shopping we have seen.

To read more about how the malls are faring during the holiday season, read the original article from WHYY by clicking here.

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