MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The holiday shopping season is expected to look very different this year and stores are pushing us to start shopping now.

Target and Best Buy are just a few retail giants launching Black Friday deals early to give shoppers more time to buy, and more time to ship their gifts on time.

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Target is offering Black Friday deals starting Nov. 1, Best Buy is starting offers on Nov. 5 leading up to Thanksgiving Day.

“Thirty percent of people have already started holiday shopping so it seems to be a little bit earlier than normal,” Justin Halverson said.

Halverson is a financial expert tracking the spending trends during the a holiday season in the middle of a pandemic. He says retailers are pushing more digital deals this year. With COVID concerns, many will be turning to online gift shopping to avoid the rush in stores.

“I started shopping early,” said Selena Davis, a St. Louis Park shopper, “I do a lot of Amazon and Target, and I try to do early because I’m scared it’s going to get backlogged and might not get my stuff in time.”

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“I’m still trying to figure out Halloween,” said Lewis Wethall, a St. Louis Park shopper, “I’m a last minute shopper, I feel like I fail at planning anything out ever so I figured I’ll just give some late presents or I’ll have to do my shopping a little bit earlier than I anticipated.”

While you shop smart by starting early, Halverson also encourages people to spend smart too.

“Start with a list, have a plan, create a budget around your spending so you don’t end up creating a lot of debt that you carry into 2021,” said Halverson.

Consumer Reports predicts that online sales will grow by 25% to 35% between November and January, compared with about 15% for the same time last year.

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The U.S. Postal Service says its busiest time starts Dec. 7. The post office encourages people to mail gifts by Dec. 15 to have packages delivered before Christmas.

Marielle Mohs