Buyers returned to stores for the holidays


Traffic from shoppers to physical retail stores rebounded strongly from 2020. Data from, a company that measures shoppers’ visits to a wide range of physical stores, including grocery stores, clothing, supermarkets, departments and specialties, indicate that buyers have returned for the 2021. holiday season.

Store visits were higher than 2020 and slightly higher than 2019

Ethan Chernofsky, vice president of marketing at, explained how retailers simultaneously feared that supply chain issues would lead to a shortage of products in stores, that labor shortages would limit professionals to these. same locations and that COVID would impact consumer demand for in-store visits. And while the effects of all of these issues have been felt, the overall retail holiday visitation for 2021 has always remained relatively close to, if not above, 2019 levels and well ahead of the 2020 numbers. .

Chernofsky said, “The ability to generate success even in the face of a ‘perfect storm’ of challenges is massive testimony to the continued consumer demand for physical retail. As the industry is clearly moving in a direction that demands greater omnichannel alignment, the continued centrality of the physical store has received a major vote of confidence over the holiday season.

Weekly visits to the retail category (including all retail categories measured by started increasing in June 2021. With the exception of a few weeks, the upward trend compared to 2019 continued throughout the holiday season. data includes grocery stores, big box stores, specialty stores, and department stores, among other segments.

Strong holiday sales and foot traffic were seen at many retailers compared to last year and improved slightly from 2019. However, many retailers are calculating the holiday sales period from November to December ( the six weeks from Thanksgiving to New Years). In 2021, there were numerous holiday sales and shopping tours in October.

Best Buy, Target and Dick’s Sporting Goods recorded strong in-store visits at the start of the season

October showed a strong performance for retail stores as shoppers worried about product shortages due to supply chain issues and strong consumer demand, while minimizing the stress of the period. parties by buying early. Many customers feared returning to crowded stores due to lingering concerns over COVID. Chernofsky said, “Visits from many top retailers increased significantly in October as many visitors focused on doing their holiday shopping early to ensure they got their products on time. Best Buy, Target and Dick’s Sporting Goods all saw significant increases in vacation traffic from 2019.

Buyer visits in November and December are down, but sales are up

Based on data from RetailNext, a company that measures shopping visits to physical retail stores, sales for the holiday season measured from November 1 to December 25 are up 1.4% from 2019.

While overall buyer visits declined 21.7%, the amount buyers spent per visit increased 17.8%, and the number of buyers making purchases increased 2.4%. Lauren Bitar, Head of Ideas for RetailNext, said: “This was driven by a strong intention to buy from shoppers walking into stores, with sales being bolstered by sidewalk and other services, as well as by this high average price of the ticket which was up to 19.3% compared to 2019 and 17.3% compared to 2020. “

Black Friday shopping spends October but is still a top shopping day

Data from indicated that many retailers saw significant reductions in visits on Black Friday itself, in part caused by numerous Black Friday deals starting in October. However, this did not affect the overall success of the holiday season.

Chernofsky noted that Target was down 3.1% on Black Friday, even though November visits were up 3.8%. Best Buy, a brand that traditionally sees huge increases in traffic on Black Friday, saw its visits drop 23.9% on the day, even though November visits were down only 12.8% and October visits by 10.2%. “The ability of many brands to generate success over a longer period of time without the same onslaught of visits is likely to result in a continued push for an extended season in the years to come,” Chernofsky said.

Sensormatic Solutions, which monitors and measures buyer traffic in physical stores, released information for the six-week period from the Sunday before Thanksgiving to January 1, 2022, showing buyer traffic down 19.5% from 2019 .

Super saturday is always great

Compared to Super Saturday 2019, shopper traffic is down 26.3% this year, however, Sensormatic Solutions has ranked Super Saturday as the second busiest shopping day. “Super Saturday has been the second busiest shopping day in America over the past five years, behind Black Friday,” said Peter McCall, senior director of retail consulting, Sensormatic Solutions. “There were only three Saturdays in December before Christmas Day this year. As expected, Super Saturday remains an important part of consumers’ holiday shopping plans to grab last-minute items with supply chain issues delaying the arrival of online orders in time for them. holiday celebrations.

According to Sensormatic Solutions, the most important shopping days for physical retail are categorized as follows:

1. Friday November 26 – Black Friday

2. Saturday December 18 – Super Saturday

3. Thursday December 23 – Thursday before Christmas

4. Saturday December 11 – 2nd Saturday in December

5. Saturday November 27 – Saturday after Thanksgiving

6. Saturday 4 December – 1st Saturday in December

7. Sunday December 19 – Sunday before Christmas

8. Wednesday December 22 – Wednesday before Christmas

9. Monday December 20 – Monday before Christmas

10. Tuesday December 21 – Tuesday before Christmas

As retailers compile results for the 2021 holiday season, October was a key driver of the best performance over 2019. While store traffic was down in November and December in many retail segments , higher purchasing power of consumers helped push sales above 2019 levels for physical retail stores.


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