But this year, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to hit communities across the country hard, Black Friday is quieter than ever.
One major exception is for video-game retailer GameStop, which started drawing lines on Wednesday with the promise of PlayStation 5 consoles.
It stands in stark contrast to malls and big-box retailers across the US, which saw far fewer shoppers as millions of Americans turned to online storefronts amid the ongoing pandemic.
The PlayStation 5 appears to be the most in-demand item this Black Friday, and it's not even discounted.
In stark contrast to the empty malls and big box retailer stores across the United States, GameStop drew massive lines on Black Friday. The crowds weren't there for a big game launch, but for the possibility of snagging the new PlayStation 5 console.
That's because the PS5 is the hottest product this holiday – so popular that thousands of people were willing to line up amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with infection rates increasing rapidly across the US.
Just as soon as retailers restock the $500 console online, it swiftly sells out. It's in such high demand, and such low supply, that a robust resale market has sprung up — the PlayStation 5 sells for nearly double its retail price at resale sites like StockX and eBay.
That combination of high consumer interest and high resale value had left some people lining up for days at their local GameStop for a chance to buy the console on Black Friday, November 27.
—jake (@aycdjake) November 27, 2020
Each store had a minimum of two PlayStation 5 consoles for sale on a first come, first served basis, the company said, though some folks in lines reported their local store had just one console for sale.
In New York City, at the GameStop in Union Square, one man told Business Insider he got in line at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving and didn't find out until 7 a.m. the next morning that the store had just two consoles.
A video of the store captured dozens of people in line overnight:
—Eric Kelly (@EricKelly) November 27, 2020
Elsewhere in Manhattan, at the Macy's flagship store in Herald Square, the crowds were nowhere to be seen: Just 30 people were reportedly waiting in line when the store opened on Friday morning, the NY Post reported.
The low-key turnout at Macy's is representative of a slower in-person Black Friday than in years past, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact life in the United States. As of Friday, the United States has over 257,000 deaths from the virus and over 12 million positive cases, according to the World Health Organization.
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