A Pandemic Black Friday: PlayStation 5 Buyers Camp Out At Stores That Are Otherwise Much Emptier

The number of people who went to traditional stores this year fell by 52.1% compared to last year, according to preliminary data from Sensormatic Solutions.

One exception though came from PlayStation 5 fans, as was expected. News reports across the country showed them camping out overnight in front of retailers, hoping to snap up a PS5 console even as stocks have been depleted with blazing speed.

What Happened: According to Adobe real-time data, US consumers spent $9 billion, 21.6% more than last year, on Black Friday, the second biggest online sales day so far.

The absolute record in online sales — for now — belongs to 2019’s Cyber Monday, which raked in $9.2 billion. This year’s Cyber Monday spendings are expected to be between $10.8 billion and $12.7 billion, according to Adobe analysts.

The top five products that U.S. customers were buying on Friday were Hot Wheels toys, Nintendo Co., LtdNTDOY video games Super Mario 3D All-Stars and Animal Crossing, and Apple Inc's AAPL Airpods and Apple Watch.

The average spending amount was $95.60. Retailers have started Christmas holiday sales earlier this year, bringing in $80.13 billion so far, compared to $142.4 billion for the entire season last year.

Experts predict overall holiday sales to reach $189 billion.

Why It Matters: This shopping season resulted in more online sales because of another COVID-19 spike in the country.

Right before the holiday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned of the dangers of “going shopping in crowded stores just before, on, or after Thanksgiving,” calling it “a high-risk activity,” Reuters reported.

It didn’t stop devoted gamers from trying to catch the long-awaited Sony Corp's SNE PlayStation 5 offline, though.

Many stores didn't have enough consoles in stock, but some lucky shoppers managed to buy one for $544, according to Reuters.

Photo Courtesy of Unsplash.com

Posted In: Black FridayChristmasCyber MondayPS5ReutersThanksgivingNewsRetail SalesTechMedia