Black Friday shopping trends to online purchases

Published 3:55 pm Wednesday, November 30, 2022

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During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions temporarily closed some brick-and-mortar stores and kept Black Friday shoppers at home. 

This year, with many stores reopened and back to business as usual, some local shoppers continue to opt for the convenience of shopping from their living rooms.

Laura McCann posted on social media that she had discovered an advertisement for a trusted website offering a Black Friday sale and took advantage of the ease and convenience to make a purchase.

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“A website I had shopped before popped up on my Facebook page, offering 50% discounts,” McCann explained. “So, after perusing the items, I purchased a couple.”

Laura Tucker, a Crenshaw County resident and small business owner, said she also enjoyed the ease and convenience of doing holiday shopping from home.

“I shopped 100% online [for Black Friday] at a mixture of small businesses and large big-box stores,” Tucker said. “I shop online because it’s convenient and because I don’t have to take my children into the store with me — which is who I am primarily shopping for anyway.”

Some shoppers avoided Black Friday sales altogether this year, making holiday purchases early thanks to expanded online sale windows.

“So many outlets have had ‘Black November’ sales that I got all my gifts already,” said Mary Johnson, who volunteers with the Alabama Medieval Fantasy Festival near Greenville. “I did jump on the $1.99 HULU deal, but mostly Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are a pass for me this year.”

In Lowndes County, where the selection of brick-and-mortar stores is limited, online sales expand shopping options for residents with access to reliable internet service.

White Hall Mayor Delbartre Bethel said he is working with the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs to bring broadband service to area residents so they may take full advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday online sales.

“When COVID-19 hit, a lot of sales were conducted online,” Bethel said. “With Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we would have those online options with broadband. A lot of people in Lowndes County have slow internet speeds or an unreliable signal, so it’s hard to even do online shopping.”

Small business owners, like Tucker, now offer online sales for Small Business Saturday, to give shoppers easy and convenient options for supporting local business during the holiday season. As broadband services expand through rural counties, like Lowndes, shoppers will gain more reliable access to online holiday sales.