COVID-19 has upended the world and the economy, with massive changes to retail, which means the holiday shopping season is likely to look very different in 2020.
However, the National Retail Federation estimates consumers will still spend an average of nearly $1,000 this year on gifts, decorations and other holiday items. Many retailers are already running Black Friday-style sales.
With 60% of holiday shoppers planning to shop online, Cyber Monday – Nov. 30 this year – is poised to be bigger than ever this year.
“Shopping online may save time and money, but this year it also could save lives during this COVID-19 holiday season,” said Michelle L. Corey,
Better Business Bureau (BBB) St. Louis president and CEO. “BBB reminds shoppers to be careful when shopping online. Fraudsters can separate shoppers from their money or steal their personal information. Some companies may not be able to deliver gifts in time for the holidays.”
While the vast majority of online retailers are reliable, some are not.
As online shopping has skyrocketed in 2020, so has the number of complaints to BBB about online retailers, with more than 53,000 complaints logged so far in 2020.
Reports to BBB Scam Tracker about online purchase scams have spiked as well, with more than 15,000 scam reports in 2020. BBB published a special report on online scams in October 2020.
Shoppers can prepare themselves for online shopping by watching ads and browsing for the items they’re seeking in advance.
Many online retailers already have set up sites where Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers will be advertised. Unless you’re informed, it can be hard to tell whether an online deal actually will save you money.
Read a site’s policies for returns and understand shipping schedules before you enter your credit card number.