Black Friday shopping goes on with smaller crowds in Philly region

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Saturday, November 28, 2020
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Camping out for a Black Friday deal is a tradition for many families, but holiday shopping, like everything else, has changed because of the pandemic.

WILLOW GROVE, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Camping out for a Black Friday deal is a tradition for many families, but holiday shopping, like everything else, has changed because of the pandemic.

According to Regina Conway, consumer expert for, many stores will not be offering deals in their stores. "You're better off camping out online than you are in line for the store," Conway said. "Most stores are not looking to attract that same level of crowd. In fact, if anything, they're trying to mitigate that this year."

But the Heffernan ladies, a mom and daughter trio from Doylestown, stuck to their Black Friday tradition. They had sweaters to match and a knack for finding deals. They have it down to a science.

SEE ALSO: Shoppers camp outside GameStop in Cherry Hill for new PlayStation 5

"I make them all wear a jingle bell. These are antique jingle bells to share Christmas cheer to the other shoppers in the mall. We eat at Cinnabon and we get Starbucks coffee," said Deanne Heffernan.

Parking was not an issue at the Willow Grove Park Mall this year. Inside the mall, there were no bustling crowds and plenty of space to social distance.

"We go in, we go out. Keep our mask on and that's it," said Jennifer Martin of Abington.

In Center City, shoppers socially distanced while trying to cash in on some big deals.

Chopper 6 was over the parking lot of the King of Prussia Mall where shopping was in full swing.

And down at Christiana Mall in Newark, despite the times we're in, the shopping continued, only some said there was a noticeable difference.

WATCH: Chopper 6 over Black Friday shopping at King of Prussia Mall

"It's a good thing. I don't want to be bumping into people," one shopper told Action New.

Despite grim economic times, the National Retail Federation expects sales for November and December to eclipse sales from the same time last year, whether it be at big box stores or at small businesses.

On Thanksgiving, it was quieter than usual on the shopping front, but Action News did find a group of people in Cherry Hill camped out, hoping to get their hands on a new PlayStation 5.

"We got here at 4:30 p.m. yesterday," said Anthony Yates of Northeast Philadelphia.

Customers may be up against resale bots that are driving the gaming shortage. Resale bots are programs designed to order a next-gen console before a typical customer could, only to resell it on sites like eBay at a considerable profit-- sometimes double or triple the suggested retail price.

Conway says stores will make it known when their stock is online, so your best bet to is to be at the right website at the right time, mouse finger at the ready. "You do need to do that research ahead of time, you don't want to just show up at midnight and expect that it will be there," she said

CLICK HERE for the latest Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.

-- CNN contributed to this report.