Black Friday in-store traffic up 4.6% over last year

Marianne Wilson
Black Friday
The peak time for in-store shopping on this year’s Black Friday was 2-3 p.m.

Shoppers turned out in force in physical stores and shopping centers on Black Friday, helped by cool dry weather in most parts of the country and heavy discounting.

In-store traffic on Black Friday (Nov. 24) was up 4.6% compared to last year, according to initial data from Sensormatic Solutions. In addition to being the strongest Black Friday increase in recent years, the results were a positive deviation from overall year-over-year performance as traffic has been down 2.4% on average throughout 2023 to date, the company noted. (Black Friday shoppers also set new records online.) 

The Sensormatic data showed that shoppers headed into stores in the early afternoon, as they usually do, with the peak time for in-store shopping on this year’s Black Friday was 2-3 p.m.  (Black Friday shoppers also set new records online.) 

 “This is an excellent result for retailers,” said Grant Gustafson, head of retail consulting and analytics at Sensormatic Solutions, which is part of Johnson Controls. “Though we anticipated an increase, in-store shopper traffic outperformed our expectations.” 

“Our main takeaway from these results is their strength compared to previous years,” Gustafson continued. “This is the most significant Black Friday increase we’ve seen in recent memory. It’s great news for retailers and consumers as we head into the remaining days of the holiday season.”

With Christmas falling on a Monday this year, the company’s predicted busiest days — nine of which are still to come—are more concentrated toward the end of the year than usual, according to Sensormatic. The top 10 busiest days of 2023’s holiday season are likely to account for 40% of all holiday traffic. 

Super Saturday, which falls on the day (Dec. 23) before Christmas Eve this year, is expected to the second-busiest shopping day for retailers in 2023, after falling to third place on the Sensormatic list last year.

“However, it’s important that retailers remember that our data is designed to apply broadly, to the American retail industry as a whole,” Gustafson cautioned.  “Retailers should also look at their own data from their traffic solutions in 2017 — the last time Christmas fell on a Monday — for a more granular view of their store when building and tailoring promotional and operational plans this December. These deeper levels of insights will help them see how things played out for them the last time Christmas fell on a Monday.”

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