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Chicago -- ShopperTrak reported Tuesday that it estimates retail foot traffic over the Black Weekend shopping period rose 8.2% year-over-year. That equates to more than 594 million store visits between Thursday and Monday.
Retail sales increased 2.7%, with shoppers spending about $22 billion across the weekend's four days. Thursday's "door-buster" deals drove sales and traffic earlier in the weekend.
"Shoppers follow value. And this year, for the first time, retailers presented significant value for shopping on Thanksgiving Day," said Bill Martin, ShopperTrak founder. "So even though retail sales were slightly down on Black Friday, traffic and sales for the weekend as a whole increased over 2011."
Last year, "Black Weekend" (Thursday through Sunday) accounted for 8.6% of sales during the entire holiday season of November and December. According to Martin, the importance of a single shopping day such as "Black Friday" may be changing as retailers promote the holiday season earlier and expand promotions across more days.
"The Monday through Wednesday before Thanksgiving had foot traffic increases as well," said Martin. "This indicates that some retailers are turning 'Black Friday' into a week-long event, and more consumers are visiting stores earlier in the week."
During "Black Weekend" 2011, shoppers spent $21.4 billion, compared to this year's $22 billion. Though Friday's sales dipped a bit, both Saturday and Sunday saw foot traffic and sales increases when compared to last year.