KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A recent Deloitte survey found shoppers are planning to visit fewer stores than ever for holiday shopping this year.
It's just another sign of the impact of COVID-`19.
The pandemic will also preempt the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds seen on Black Friday in years past.
"People are probably going to more online shop than want to go out on Black Friday and find the deals," Lisa Bristol, a shopper on the Country Club Plaza, said.
According to shopping experts at RetailMeNot, a site that aggregates coupons and deals, Bristol is right.
"Eighty-eight percent of people that we surveyed said that they're not going to be shopping those crazy doorbuster deals on Thanksgiving," said Sara Skirboll, a RetailMeNot shopping and trends expert.
Shoppers who do decide to venture out on Thanksgiving and Black Friday may see long lines, but those will likely reflect social distancing and the limited number of people allowed in a store to keep everyone safe.
Many retailers are changing their Black Friday models to accommodate wary shoppers.
Target, for example, is turning the day into a month-long event with different deals each week.
Walmart and Home Depot are also extending their sales so customers can start shopping now.
Skirboll shared her go-to resource, a website called BlackFriday.com, which lists all the deals of the season.
"If I know I need a TV or an instant pot, I look at all of those 'leaked ads' on BlackFriday.com, and I see who's going to offer me the better deal," she said.
"What it does is basically applies all of those coupon codes and cashback offers across the internet automatically at checkout," Skirboll said of Deal Finder.
Perhaps most importantly, holiday shoppers should start checking off their lists as soon as possible. Since online sales increased during the pandemic, carriers are already under pressure to deliver on time.
"If you want to avoid shipping delays, if you want to avoid inventory issues, I recommend starting now," Skirboll said.
You can find Black Friday tips and deals from RetailMeNot here.