Coronavirus cases are surging across the US, and the timing for retailers could not be worse. With Thanksgiving and the start of the busy holiday shopping season less than 10 days away, there is obvious concern for retailers headed into the season.
But a Washington State University survey shows shoppers find it is important to support businesses during the pandemic.
The survey found that 71% of shoppers say shopping in-person is worth it when it's to help local businesses stay open.
But it seems like the pandemic is discouraging some Americans from participating in Black Friday sales. The survey found that 76% of shoppers said they would rather do something else on Black Friday than shop, which is a 10% increase from a year ago.
Unlike in years past, many major retailers are opting to close on Thanksgiving. The survey found that 71% of shoppers are more likely to support businesses that give their employees the day off on Thanksgiving.
"The pandemic will have a significant impact on shopping behaviors this year, with more consumers shopping online than ever before," said Joan Giese, CCB clinical associate professor of marketing. "However, despite these changes, we've found that many consumers feel that holiday shopping will provide a sense of normalcy during an unfamiliar holiday season."
The National Retail Federation says that the industry has shown some resilience during the pandemic. The organization says that $1,200 economic impact payments helped keep the industry afloat during the pandemic.
“Strong growth in retail sales during the last few months points to the resiliency of consumers even in this disruptive pandemic environment,” National Retail Federation chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Taking in all the evidence available, the U.S. economic recovery has progressed more quickly than generally expected.”