MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Christmas is still 10 weeks away, but the holiday shopping season is already underway. The coronavirus pandemic has more people pointing and clicking.

“Way back in the day, holiday shopping started with Black Friday weekend and as online sales have grown, retailers have started pushing those sales earlier and earlier and earlier,” says Consumer Reports Deals Editor Samantha Gordon. She adds, “And this year, they are going to start now.”

Amazon was overwhelmed with orders in the spring and summer when Americans shifted to even more online shopping as stores shut down. The company, which has spent 25 years building warehouses and a delivery network, had to hire an additional 175,000 workers to meet demand.

Amazon moved its annual two-day Prime Day from July to October 13th and 14th, offering more than one million sale items.

Target, Walmart, and others are following suit with online deals.

“We’re also seeing sales at Sam’s Club and Best Buy and Bed, Bath and Beyond, and all of these major retailers are offering these different savings,” Gordon says.

Many people are ready to take advantage of the discounts.

A survey from RetailMeNot found 75 percent of Americans prefer to do their holiday shopping online.

67-percent say they are searching for deals during the Prime Days. That’s more than the 65-percent on Cyber Monday and the 59-percent on Black Friday.

Shopping expert Sara Skirboll of RetailMeNot says, “I think the trend of earlier shopping for the holidays is here to stay.”

She says there are big price cuts on electronics, appliances, and home goods.

“A lot of people are going to start their shopping and even finish their shopping in October, and that’s because people are concerned about inventory and shipping delays,” Skirboll says.

Skirboll notes there will be deeper discounts on toys in December, but shoppers who wait will take a chance that the toy will be sold out or won’t arrive on time.

 

With the coronavirus still spreading in the U.S., stores have had to rethink their usual holiday plans. Thanksgiving Day doorbusters are canceled. There will still be in-store sales the day after Thanksgiving, but companies are expected to try to steer many shoppers to their websites to avoid crowds and chaos.

In addition, with many people out of work and even more uncertain about their economic futures, this isn’t expected to be a banner year for holiday sales.

 

 

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