Report: Retail foot traffic declines during 2013 holiday season

San Jose, Calif. -- The full months of November and December 2013 suffered a brick-and-mortar customer traffic decline as compared to the same two months in 2012. According to new analysis from RetailNext, average sales decline remained at low single digits, which was aided by average growth in average transaction value (ATV) and a slightly positive 0.2% point increase in conversion.

This means there were fewer shoppers in 2013 compared to 2012 in the combined months of November and December. However, because the average value of a transaction was higher in 2013, sales decline was not impacted to the same degree as traffic decline in the months of November and December of 2013. Some notable figures include:

• Traffic down 6.5%
• Sales down 3.6%
• Conversion flat but ATV up 2.4%
• Saturday, Dec 21, second-highest sales and traffic day
• November Saturdays and Sundays lowest conversion days
• December average traffic decline of 6.3% and sales decline of 5.6%

Top Performing Days: Retailers saw a sales increase of more than 2% year over year (YOY) despite an 11% traffic decline. Even though there was a traffic decline of 11% on Christmas Eve in 2013 compared to 2012 when Christmas Eve landed on a Monday, sales increased because retailers were able to better convert shoppers into buyers, and many at higher transaction values (ATV) compared to last year. Other notable figures include:

• Black Friday traffic was down 5.8%, with sales up .8%
• Black Friday saw the highest traffic and sales during the full holiday period
• Day after Christmas 6.1% traffic increase, conversion up 1.8% and sales up 12%.

Thanksgiving Weekend: Shoppers appeared to respond well to the increased number of stores staying open on Thanksgiving Day this year and an ever-expanding number of open business hours throughout the weekend (Thurs-Sun). When compared to the full holiday period, Thanksgiving Weekend saw a 1.1% traffic decline, but a healthy increase in average sales. Conversion was up two points and sales were up 6.4%

Post-Holiday Weekend: For the broader post-Christmas period (Dec 26-30 for 2012 and 2013), retailers did not sustain the traffic and sales improvement seen right after Christmas. Traffic declined by an average of 4.7% in 2013, with sales closely following suit.

For example:

• Traffic and sales down more than 4%
• Conversion up .5%.
• Lowest conversion days of November and December were Dec. 28 and Dec. 29.

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