Placer.ai: Black Friday becomes Black Week

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Placer.ai: Black Friday becomes Black Week

By Al Urbanski - 12/02/2020
Traffic at Target was up in 2020 on the Saturday and Tuesday prior to Black Friday, according to Placer.ai.

Black Friday hasn’t gone away as much as it’s been extended.

News reports of 50% reductions in Black Friday traffic at brick-and-mortar shopping locations might be true enough, but perhaps too day-specific to tell the full story during this year’s opening week of the holiday season. While Black Friday traffic logs of top retailers performed by Placer.ai showed visits declined 21% at Walmart and 43% at Best Buy, falloffs were much lower and visits were longer on other shopping days of the week.

Target actually showed 3% and 5% traffic increases on the Saturday and Tuesday before Black Friday compared to 2019, and traffic declines on those days at Walmart and Best Buy were in single-digit percentages.

And as has been the case with store visits throughout the pandemic, people choosing to venture into stores stayed longer and made more purchases. During Thanksgiving week, Placer.ai, which uses mobile phone data to track traffic and visit duration, recorded shopper stays up by 6.8% at Best Buy, 4.2% at Target, and 2% at Walmart.

Open on Thanksgiving, Dollar General saw visits increase by 12% versus the 2019 holiday and stay above level on Black Friday. Big Lots and At Home, too, saw small drops in traffic on the season’s traditional opening day.

“2020 has taught us that it isn’t just the number of visits, but the quality that matters,” said Placer.ai’s marketing chief Ethan Chernofsky. “Walmart, Target, and Best Buy all saw significant year-over-year increases in visit duration, a major indicator that while visits may have been down, basket size may have increased significantly.”

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