Black Friday 2020: Is It Canceled, Store Closings, And Everything We Know

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It’s been an incredibly strange and brutal year, but somehow, it’s already August, and the busy holiday shopping season will be here before we know it. In the United States, Black Friday is known as the best time of year to save money on big-ticket items, to cross all those names off your shopping list and splurge for yourself a little (or a lot) too. But with COVID-19 still a very real threat in the US, some are wondering whether Black Friday 2020 has been canceled entirely.

Fortunately, Black Friday has been developing a strong online presence for years now. With companies like Amazon proving that huge online sales like Prime Day can be a major success, retailers have slowly been offering more noteworthy Black Friday deals online over the years, and this year will be no exception. In fact, with retailers looking to avoid mass crowds that normally push into stores on Black Friday, there’s even greater incentive to make sure the best deals are also available online–and earlier.

So what has been confirmed so far regarding retailers’ plans for Black Friday 2020? Here’s what we know right now about Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday shopping this year.

Many stores are closing on Thanksgiving Day

Walmart led the charge in announcing all Walmart and Sam’s Club locations will be closed on Thanksgiving Day (November 26), breaking a decade-long tradition in which Black Friday offers would be available in-store as early as Thanksgiving evening. Soon after, Target announced its stores will close on Thanksgiving Day as well.

While certainly the best decision to allow employees more time with their families and to avoid huge crowds in stores on Thanksgiving, this is a major change to the typical rhythm of Black Friday, as we’re used to seeing some of the best doorbuster deals kick off on Thanksgiving Day. As a result, we expect to see some great online-only doorbusters this Thanksgiving and an overall shift in the deals schedule.

You can check out more of the major retailers who have confirmed they’re closing their doors on Thanksgiving this year below. Of course, some stores traditionally close on Thanksgiving Day every year, such as Apple and Costco, and it’s likely they’ll remain closed this year as well.

Confirmed stores that are closing on Thanksgiving Day 2020

  • Walmart / Sam’s Club
  • Target
  • Best Buy
  • Kohl’s
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods
  • TJ Maxx
  • JCPenney
  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Office Depot

Black Friday deals may start as early as October

Getty Images

To avoid the massive rush of people visiting stores in mid to late November, it seems Black Friday-level deals will start rolling out much earlier this year to space out the promotions–perhaps as early as October. At least one retailer, Target, has confirmed that its “biggest holiday deals” will be available starting in October–and you won’t have to go to a store to take advantage of them.

In a press release, Target stated, “Our biggest holiday deals will be available earlier than ever, so you can shop safely and conveniently without worrying about missing out on deals that usually come later in the season. Starting in October and continuing throughout the season, you’ll find Target’s lowest prices of the year on items in stores and online.”

While other retailers haven’t yet committed to offering Black Friday deals early, this is a natural progression of the way Black Friday has been unfolding in recent years. Black Friday ads usually start to leak in late October, and some retailers have designated the entire month of November as a major deals period. Gone are the days when Black Friday stuck to a single week–the frenzy has been expanding for several years now, so it’s no huge surprise that those promotions may now kick off in October at some stores as part of an overall holiday push.

Keep in mind that Amazon Prime Day has reportedly been pushed back to October 5 this year, putting it extremely close to Black Friday. It’s unclear exactly how or whether this will affect Amazon’s Black Friday promotions, but Prime Day may function as an unofficial kick-off of this year’s holiday promotions.

That said, it’s safe to assume many Black Friday offers will still center around the week of Thanksgiving, with the bulk of the deals kicking off between November 22 and November 30. This year, however, you won’t have to push through any crowds to get the best offers, as retailers will likely avoid in-store exclusives.

Best Black Friday 2020 deals to expect

Console deals may be extremely limited this Black Friday.
Console deals may be extremely limited this Black Friday.

This is a unique year in many ways, including the fact that next-generation consoles, the Xbox Series X and PS5, are launching this holiday season–potentially in November, which would line up with previous-gen launch dates as well. That said, don’t expect to see any Black Friday discounts on these next-gen consoles. The PS4 and Xbox One will likely still feature in Black Friday ads this year, but we may not see as many great console bundles as we’ve seen in years past (like the excellent Only on PlayStation PS4 bundle for $200 from last year) as Sony and Microsoft shift the focus onto their new consoles. The Xbox One X and All-Digital Edition have already been discontinued, so expect any Xbox console deals beyond the regular Xbox One S to be extremely limited based on whatever they have left in stock.

Nintendo isn’t launching a console this year, but the Nintendo Switch has remained incredibly popular and has been hard to find since February. We don’t expect any official discounts on the console from Nintendo this year–assuming it’s even in stock by then–but you can sometimes find discounts on the Switch via online marketplaces like Google Shopping and Ebay during Black Friday. If we do see Switch bundles, let’s hope they’re more impressive than last year’s bundle, which featured the older model Switch without improved battery life.

Gaming subscriptions like PlayStation Plus and especially Xbox Game Pass Ultimate will likely feature more heavily in Black Friday deals this year as these services are continuing with next-gen consoles. Of course, you’ll also find all-time low prices on games from recent years, including those from earlier this year and summer, so Black Friday will be a great time to add to your backlog.

You can check out some of last year’s most popular Black Friday gaming deals below to get a sense of what deals may be available this year.

Black Friday 2019’s best gaming deals

  • PS4 Slim “Only on PlayStation bundle with God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn: Complete Edition, and The Last of Us Remastered — $200
  • PS4 Pro with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare — $300
  • PlayStation VR Mega Pack with five games — $200
  • PlayStation Plus 12-month membership — $36
  • Xbox One X bundle with Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Deluxe Edition and three months of Xbox Live Gold — $350
  • Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons — $60
  • Nintendo Switch Online 12-month subscription — $15
  • First-party Switch games — $30

This will likely be the biggest year yet for online holiday shopping, and we’ll just have to wait and see what type of gaming, tech, and entertainment deals are up for grabs this Black Friday. Of course, we’ll be covering all the best deals on games, accessories, consoles, and more here at GameSpot, so keep checking back as we update this story with more information. Be sure to follow GameSpot Deals on Twitter for the hottest discounts, including lightning deals that will sell out fast during Prime Day and Black Friday, and sign up for our deals newsletter to keep up with the latest sales below.

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