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ShopperTrak: Black Friday store traffic down

Visits to physical stores and shopping centers on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday fell this year amid big increases in online spending.

According to ShopperTrak, shopper visits were down 1% for the two-day period compared to last year, with a 1.7% decline in traffic on Black Friday and a versus 2017. This slight traffic variance is consistent with data results over the last several years, the firm noted, with the decline beginning to flatten out.

“The fact that the combined shopper visits remained almost the same this year compared to the last three years proves that the notion of Black Friday not being popular anymore is a myth,” said Brian Field, senior director of global retail consulting for ShopperTrak, a Tyco Retail Solutions’ brand. “Shopping in physical stores during the holidays continues to be an exciting annual event for consumers and based on the Black Friday traffic data, retailers are in for a successful holiday season.”

Online sales reached a record of $6.22 billion Black Friday, up 23.6% from last year, according to Adobe Analytics. Online sales on Thanksgiving Day rose 28% to $3.7 billion, making it the fastest-growing day for e-commerce sales in history.  Consumers who didn’t want to shop in stores nonetheless flocked there to pick up goods, with click-and-collect orders growing 73% from Thursday to Friday, a sign that retailers are successfully bridging online and offline retail operations, Adobe said.

Eight of the 10 busiest shopping days (as predicted by ShopperTrak) are still to come, including Super Saturday, which will fall on Dec. 22, and the Sunday before Christmas, Dec. 23. Notably, for the third year in a row, there are four Saturdays in December prior to Christmas Day, which will enhance the importance of both Dec. 8 and Dec. 15. In addition, similar to last year, the Saturday after Christmas, Dec. 29, is expected to be one of the busiest shopping days taking the last spot on the top 10 busiest day’s list.

“To ensure success, retailers must have their inventory well-stocked with quality, high-demand products and their staff prepared,” said Field. “Providing an unparalleled customer experience throughout the shopper journey makes the season festive and fun and will bring shoppers back well beyond the holidays.”
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