This year's holiday season is just like the rest of 2020 — full of surprises.
Walmart said Wednesday it will be splitting up its Black Friday sales into three different events this year in order to contain crowds during the coronavirus pandemic and to avoid overwhelming the supply chain.
“We wanted to prioritize our associate safety, customer safety and our ability to serve,” John Furner, Walmart U.S. CEO, told Jo Ling Kent in an exclusive interview that aired on NBC's "TODAY" show on Wednesday.
“Black Friday Deals for Days” will kick off online on Nov. 4 with deals on toys, electronics and home products and continue in store on Nov. 7. The second event will begin online on Nov. 11 with mark-downs on TVs, computers, tablets, movies, music and more, continuing in store on Nov. 14. Lastly, the retail giant will wrap up the event online on Nov. 25 and in store on “true” Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.
“Customers trust Walmart to deliver an amazing Black Friday year after year. Although this year’s event looks different, our commitment to what our customers depend on us for — the absolute best prices of the season on hot gifts from top brands — hasn’t changed,” Scott McCall, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer for Walmart U.S., said.
The move comes as many consumers are looking to start their holiday shopping early and online this year. According to RetailMeNot coupon clipping site, 31 percent of shoppers will start earlier to avoid inventory issues or shipping delays and 75 percent will prefer to do it online. It also comes as 51 percent of consumers confront pandemic-altered income levels, which means 40 percent are looking to spend less this year, according to PwC consulting services company.
Walmart is not the only retailer following the shift in consumer behavior. Amazon, Target, and Best Buy all launched deal days this week, offering hefty discounts to entice shoppers to complete their shopping early.
“I don't think Black Friday ... is dead," Furner said. "But certainly we know that the customer in the United States ... is looking for solutions that really start sooner than years past."