Market Track: November 2011

The Holiday Shopping Season got off to a fast start with sales numbers increasing by 6.6% compared with last year, according to Shopper Trak. Promotional activity started earlier than usual and helped shoppers stay in the know as to where they could find the best deals. Leading up to Black Friday, increases were seen in print for both page counts and circular drops in many instances. In digital there were increases in volume and frequency of online, email and social promotions.  

Some increased the number of circulars while others went up in page counts, and a few of them stayed the course with what was done in 2010. What was unusual is that some of the retailers chose to significantly reduce the size of the circulars that dropped post Black Friday. This may have been in response to the 2010 weekly sales patterns, the focus on Cyber week or simply a way to enable more promotions before Black Friday.

Lowe's dropped bulkier inserts when compared with last year. November, 2010 they did not focus much on Black Friday, only one eight-page circular was dropped on the day before Black Friday. However, this year they published a two-page circular on the Sunday before Black Friday and another 12-page circular was dropped a day before Black Friday. 

Best Buy, which did not change its advertising strategy in terms of timing their insert drop, did change its focus from ‘Thanksgiving’ last year to ‘Doorbuster’ aiming more towards Black Friday. In addition to this it also made its insert bulkier in comparison to previous year.

Safeway started advertising Thanksgiving much earlier than last year. Its first Thanksgiving flyer was dropped on Nov. 2 this year almost two weeks earlier than previous year. 

In 2010, Sears had started advertising Christmas in November, while this year it was more focused on Black Friday and Thanksgiving.

Macy’s East added eight extra pages to their insert this year compared with a 72-page flyer last year dropped on the day of Thanksgiving. 

JCPenney may not have increased page counts, but it did distribute more circulars than last year with a 28% jump in the number of circulars they dropped compared with last year.

Home Depot, Kroger and Walgreens were among the few retailers showing decline in both flyers as well as number of pages per flyer. 

Home Depot flyers were focused mainly on the Holiday theme. Number of pages were comparatively less than last year.

Walmart chose to put more emphasis on its Black Friday promotions earlier in the month, issuing its multi-page toy circular one week earlier this year while decreasing the number of pages that were in the circular that was published immediately following Black Friday.

Kroger’s advertising strategy has been different for various markets, during the Thanksgiving week the flyer themed ‘Thanksgiving’ was dropped in only select markets like last year.

It’s important to note a number of factors that should be considered when examining the number of inserts and pages retailers send into the marketplace. Market Track’s granular level of data reflects regional versioning and market specific differences. This is accomplished through an extensive collections process, including physically obtaining the ads from the various markets in which they are distributed. In the instance that retailers send additional circulars to a limited number of markets, Market Track’s information reflects these nuances through numbers with decimals (for average number of inserts per market) and odd numbers (for average number of pages).

About Market Track:

Market Track is a market intelligence firm dedicated to increasing customers’ returns on their promotional investments. Through innovative technology and marketplace expertise, it monitors and analyze over 200 U.S. and Canadian markets for every channel of trade in order provide retailers and manufacturers with superior tools to monitor promotional activity, support dynamic decision making and turn information into market intelligence. For more information, contact Market Track at 1.800.235.3781 or email

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