CHICAGO, Dec. 1, 2011 — Black Friday weekend is shifting to encompass days prior to the big shopping event, with stores seeing more foot-traffic beforehand.
According to ShopperTrak — the world’s largest provider of retail and mall foot-traffic counting services — more customers shopped the Sunday before Thanksgiving than the days following Black Friday. Both Black Saturday and Black Sunday showed year-over-year losses in retail sales and foot-traffic, which caused the entire Black Friday weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) to realize a 1.9 percent sales increase and 1.8 percent decline in foot-traffic when compared to the same period last year. The week leading up to Black Friday (ending Nov. 26), however, saw a 4.4 percent increase in sales, when compared to the same week in 2010. Black Sunday (Nov. 27) also saw a 1.7 percent decrease in enclosed mall foot-traffic, compared to the previous Sunday (Nov. 20).
“Retailers offered door-busters and other pre-holiday specials earlier in the Thanksgiving week to ensure they had the best opportunity to capture value-conscious shoppers,” said ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin. “Our customers have access to real-time traffic information, and they succeeded in taking share earlier than they had in past years. As we’ve noted over the past few months, retailers who focus on converting shoppers into buyers with effective marketing, adequate staffing and a positive customer experience will be the most successful when the season ends.”
Black Friday sales increased 6.6 percent over the same day last year, representing $11.40 billion in retail purchases and the biggest dollar amount ever spent during the day. Retail foot-traffic rose by 5.1 percent over Black Friday 2010. Both sales and foot-traffic, however, declined as the weekend continued. Compared to the same day in 2010, Black Saturday sales dropped 4 percent, and people counts declined 9.6 percent. Sales were slightly better on Black Sunday, dropping only 2 percent year-over-year, while foot-traffic dropped 8.7 percent over Black Sunday 2010.
“Black Friday is only one day in a 60-day holiday season cycle,” added Martin. “After a record-breaking day, consumers experienced some natural fatigue. We believe retail sales and store foot-traffic will regain the momentum generated on Black Friday as we head into the prime time for holiday season shopping.”
ShopperTrak predicts five of the biggest shopping days of the season will occur in the week leading up to Christmas weekend: Dec. 17 (Super Saturday), Dec. 18, Dec. 19, Dec. 22 and Dec. 23. ShopperTrak also forecasts Dec. 3, Dec. 10 and Dec. 26 as high sales days. Taken together, eight of the top 10 sales days of the year are yet to come.
Weekend performance across the country
When viewed by census regions, the West outperformed the rest of the nation with more foot-traffic and sales than any other region. The South also ranked high in sales, but, unlike the West, fewer Southern shoppers spent more per trip; the region ranked last in foot-traffic on some days.
The Midwest and Northeast alternately ranked third and fourth in foot-traffic and sales throughout the weekend.
“There is still a lot of time left in the holiday shopping season,” said Martin. “The most successful retailers will pay attention to foot-traffic patterns and make appropriate adjustments to convert shoppers into buyers.”
ShopperTrak measures foot-traffic in more than 25,000 stores in the United States and analyzes this data in a proprietary econometric model to create its National Retail Sales Estimate™ (NRSE) of general merchandise, apparel and accessories, furniture and other sales (GAFO).