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COVID-19 might bring the end of Black Friday shopping as we know it

Shoppers are looking for deals online and early this year.

TAMPA, Fla. — The pandemic has changed the way we've all shopped for everyday items. With the holidays coming, it's changing the way we shop for that as well.  

For example, Amazon Prime Day is underway and while the pandemic may have pushed back the annual sale, it looks like shoppers are ready to buy. 

According to Retail Me Not, 67 percent of Americans are planning to make a purchase during Amazon Prime Day this year. That's bigger than Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

It looks like it is a smart time to buy because 46-percent of retailers say they will offer their deepest discounts during Amazon Prime Day, and not Black Friday or Cyber Monday. 

That brings the number up from 38-percent last year.

Some of its competitors are starting their competing offers early in hopes of attracting shoppers. Walmart, Target, and Best Buy are all promoting big discounts on televisions, watches, and other items. Walmart is even offering free shipping on eligible orders over $35.

An online shopping expert from Brad's Deals says shopping early this holiday season will be the key to getting what you want at the best price. 

The CDC has put in-person holiday shopping on its list of higher-risk activities this year. With people sometimes camping out and lining up waiting to get into stores and running for the deals, Black Friday is likely a thing of the past. 

Now, we'll be trying to find the best deals online.  

"Previously retailers were looking to draw big crowds of enthusiastic shoppers into their stores and this year they're going to be looking at how to keep consumers and their employees safe,"  said Casey Runyan, the managing editor of Brad's Deals. Brad's Deals is a website and app that scours online sales to show you the best prices and how to get them. 

Runyan says with Amazon Prime Day happening this close to Black Friday, and other retailers offering big online sales, if you see a good deal, you should jump on it.  

"There is a risk for sellouts of popular items as we get later into the season so if there's something you definitely know you want to buy this year, I would recommend making that purchase sooner rather than later."

Runyan says there's another reason to buy early if you're doing your shopping online. 

"There is a very real risk that we're going to see another wave of shipping delays and inventory issues later in the year."

Online shopping could also pose a threat to cybersecurity. Hackers and scammers could be targeting online shoppers more than ever this year. You can find tips on how to shop safely online here.  

Runyan says a popular item this year will be holiday decor.  With everyone spending more time at home, they'll want to make their homes more festive. So that stuff could sell out quickly as well. 

RELATED: How to shop safely on Amazon Prime Day

RELATED: Amazon Prime Day 2020: Everything you need to know about the 2-day event

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