ShopperTrak: Black Friday foot traffic slower than last year, online sales up 17%

Despite stores trying to kick off holiday shopping earlier this year on Thanksgiving day, data released by ShopperTrak shows foot traffic to stores on Thanksgiving and Black Friday was down 1.6 percent from last year.

Foot traffic in stores was down 1.6% from last year on Thanksgiving and Black Friday

Store traffic on Black Friday itself dropped 1 percent over last year. Instead, consumers have been increasingly turning to mobile devices to shop for the entire month of November. Adobe Insights reported $5.03 billion dollars of online sales for Black Friday, a 17 percent increase of online shopping from last year.

Brian Field, senior director of advisory services for ShopperTrak, said "We know that opening on Thanksgiving Day was merely pulling shopping visits from Black Friday, as opposed to creating an additional opportunity for shoppers to hit the stores."

Adobe Insights found 37 percent of Black Friday purchases were made from mobile devices. Traditionally, Black Friday was viewed as the busiest day in brick-and-mortar retail. The slight dip in foot traffic on a formerly strong in-store day shows how consumer preference is changing in favor of online platforms.

Field acknowledged the "significant amount of debate surrounding the shifting importance of brick-and-mortar retail." He said ShopperTrak remains optimistic with the bulk of holiday shopping season ahead "that physical retail is still highly relevant."

Field added that when done right, brick-and-mortar can still be profitable.

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