Black Friday Sees Light Retail Turnouts, No Lines As Shoppers Opt For Online Purchases

A "Black Friday Deals" sign is displayed as a few shoppers are seen at a store at the Glendale Galleria in Glendale, Calif., Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. AP Ringo H.W. Chiu)

The retail mayhem known as Black Friday was bleak today at most stores across the country. Instead of large lines and customers fighting for discount TVs, many outlets were nearly empty.

The down market on what’s typically the busiest day of the year for retail reflects the fear of Covid-19 contagion and perhaps the looming cutoff of unemployment benefits for many that marks this holiday season.

Still, spending is robust in some quarters.

The Adobe data analytics company tracks retail website visits, and it reports that┬áBlack Friday spending online is expected to increase to between $8.9 billion and $10.6 billion. That total reflects a gain of 20 and 42 percent, according to the company’s survey.

Those totals contrast with 2018 online figures. Two years ago, stores raked in $6.2 billion in a single day, according to Digital Trends.

There is a silver lining to the lack of retail action. The website Black Friday Death Count reports 11 deaths and more than 100 injuries related to Black Friday between 2006 and 2018.

Photos of retail activity from around the country show those who did turn out largely observing social distancing and masking protocols.

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