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11/29/2021

Black Friday store traffic up year-over-year; down from pre-pandemic levels

Marianne Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
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Retail store traffic on Black Friday rose 47.5% compared to last year.

Traffic in retail stores rebounded from last year but remains down compared with 2019 as consumers started holiday shopping earlier in the season and also continued their shift to online.

In-store traffic on Black Friday declined 28.3% compared to the pre-pandemic year of 2019, according to preliminary data from Sensormatic Solutions. But traffic rose 47.5% increase compared to a year ago.

The peak time for in-store Black Friday shopping was from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., as it has been in years past. Visits to stores on Thanksgiving Day plummeted 90.4% compared to 2019. The decline came as many retailers — including Walmart, Target, The Home Depot and Best Buy — decided to close their doors for the holiday similar to last year. Target recently announced it will make Thanksgiving Day closings permanent.

Sensormatic said its data indicated consumers are prioritizing in-store shopping this season — and started shopping earlier — to avoid potential shipping delays.

“While in-store shopping is still not back to 2019 levels, more shoppers felt comfortable visiting stores in person this Black Friday than in 2020,” said Brian Field, senior director of global retail consulting, Sensormatic Solutions, which is part of Johnson Controls. “One driver of this increased traffic could be ongoing supply chain challenges and shipping delays, which are resulting in consumers shopping earlier to ensure their gifts arrive on time.”

Sensormatic expects the 10 busiest U.S. shopping days in 2021 to account for 40% of all holiday traffic. Black Friday is still predicted to be the busiest in-store shopping day of the season.  U.S. in-store traffic for this year’s holiday season is also expected to be down from 10% to 15% compared to 2019.

[Read More: The 10 busiest shopping days for holiday 2021 will be…]