Data from location data vendor Placer.ai finds that many shopping centers and physical store had less foot traffic on Black Friday compared with 2021 and pre-pandemic 2019. At the same time, however, Black Friday online sales reached a record-setting $9.12 billion this year.
196.7 million consumers in the United States shopped in-store and online during the Cyber 5 period, according to an annual survey the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics released. That’s nearly 17 million more than last year, and the most since NRF began tracking this data in 2017, NRF said.
“Despite the fact that Black Friday 2021 was limited by rising COVID cases and a concerted effort from retailers to shift focus away from the retail holiday, Black Friday 2022 still fell short for most sectors,” Placer.ai shared in a post to its blog.
“While the centrality of the day to the retail season continues to diminish, the data does show that Black Friday can still draw consumers to retail outlets even in times of high inflation and economic uncertainty,” Placer.ai wrote.
Black Friday traffic at malls decreases
Placer.ai analyzed data from more than 100 indoor malls, 100 outlet malls and 100 open-air lifestyle centers across the country. It factored in both urban and suburban areas. Placer.ai data found that on Black Friday this year, all three types of shopping centers had less foot traffic than last year. They also had less foot traffic than in 2019.
“Even compared to a Black Friday in 2021 that was limited by rising COVID cases, and an active effort by retailers to shift focus away from the retail holiday, brick-and-mortar visits were down nearly across the board,” said Ethan Chernofsky, vice president of marketing at Placer.ai.
Outlet malls had the steepest year-over-year drop on Black Friday, with 3.9% fewer visitors this year than in 2021, according to Placer.ai. That drop is even steeper compared with 2019 and also the steepest drop in the three-year comparison. There were also 17.8% fewer outlet mall visitors this year than in pre-pandemic 2019, according to Placer.ai.
Similarly, indoor malls this year had 2.3% less foot traffic on Black Friday than in 2021 and 14.2% less than in 2019, according to Placer.ai.
The smallest Black Friday foot traffic drop was in open-air lifestyle center visitors, according to Placer.ai. They had half of 1% fewer visitors this year than last year, and 11.7% fewer visitors than in 2019, according to Placer.ai.
“The day did still drive a massive surge in visits with some retailers seeing increases of 300% or more on the average daily visits in November in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving,” Chernofsky said. “This shows that while Black Friday may not possess the draw it had in years past, it still retains a unique ability to drive urgency among consumers.”
Black Friday store foot traffic by merchant category
Two out of eight categories had more foot traffic on Black Friday this year than both 2021 and 2019, according to Pacer.ai.
The eight categories include:
- Beauty and spa
- Department stores
- Discount and dollar stores
- Electronics stores
- Recreational and sporting goods
- Shopping centers
The beauty and spa category had the largest foot traffic growth both compared with 2021 and with 2019. It grew 14.6% over 2021, and 64.6% over 2019, according to Placer.ai.
Discount and dollar stores were the only other categories with growth compared with both 2021 and 2019. However, electronics stores had the second-largest foot traffic growth over 2019, at 24.9%. The electronics store category had 2.2% less foot traffic than in 2021, though.
Discount and dollar stores had 1.1% more Black Friday foot traffic this year than in 2021. They had 15.3% more compared with 2019, according to Placer.ai.
Department stores had the largest decreases in Black Friday foot traffic, according to Placer.ai. They had 9.0% less foot traffic than 2021, and 29.3% less than 2019.
Big box retailers lose foot traffic this Black Friday
Foot traffic decreased at eight big box retailers Placer.ai analyzed on Black Friday compared with 2021, All eight rank in the Top 1000, Digital Commerce 360’s database of the largest North American e-retailers by web sales.
The eight retailers:
- BJ’s Wholesale Club (No. 80 in the Top 1000)
- Costco Wholesale Corp. (No. 9)
- Lowe’s Cos. Inc. (No. 11)
- Sam’s Club (under parent company Walmart Inc., No. 2)
- Target Corp. (No. 5)
- The Home Depot Inc. (No. 4)
- Tractor Supply Co. (No. 102)
- Walmart (No. 2)
The only retailer among the eight with more foot traffic on Black Friday compared with 2019 was Tractor Supply Co. The smallest year-over-year decline in foot traffic on Black Friday was at Sam’s Club, according to Pacer.ai. It declined 1.5% in 2022 from 2021. Aside from Tractor Supply Co., which gained foot traffic from 2019, Walmart had the smallest decline in foot traffic in 2022 compared with 2019.
The decrease in Black Friday foot traffic at Home Depot and Lowe’s comes weeks after both reported year-over-year growth in ecommerce sales in their respective third fiscal quarters. Black Friday was also a record breaking day for Costco ecommerce, according to chief financial officer Richard Galanti.
“Subsequent to quarter end, we did have our two biggest e-comm selling days in our company history, both on Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” Galanti said to investors in the retailer’s earnings call Dec. 8 for its fiscal first quarter ended Nov. 20, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript.
Black Friday foot traffic at department stores declines
The five department stores Pacer.ai analyzed all had decreased foot traffic this year compared with 2021 and with 2019. All five rank in the Top 1000.
The five department stores:
- Dillard’s Inc. (No. 104 in the Top 1000)
- Kohl’s Corp. (No. 21)
- Macy’s Inc. (No. 16)
- Neiman Marcus (No. 75)
- Nordstrom Inc. (No. 20)
Kohl’s had the smallest decline in Black Friday foot traffic among the five retailers when compared with 2021. Macy’s had the largest, according to Pacer.ai. Compared with 2019, Nordstrom had the smallest decline in Black Friday foot traffic at 25.8%. Meanwhile, Dillard’s had the largest decline (36.2%).
One specialty retailer gains Black Friday foot traffic
Placer.ai also analyzed Apple Inc., Best Buy Co. Inc., Dick’s Sporting Goods and Ulta Beauty and grouped them as specialty stores. All four rank in the Top 1000. Of the four, only Ulta Beauty (No. 51 in the Top 1000) had more traffic this year than in 2021 or 2019.
Ulta had 16.5% more foot traffic this year than in 2021, according to Placer.ai, and 31.0% more than in 2019. This falls in line with Placer.ai’s above-mentioned category data. Similarly, the foot traffic decrease for Dick’s Sporting Goods fell in line with an overall drop in recreational and sporting goods category foot traffic.
Apple (No. 3) stores had the largest decline of the group. It had 11.0% less Black Friday foot traffic in 2022 than in 2021. Compared with 2019, this year’s foot traffic decreased 36.3%.
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