Physical Retail’s Good(ish) News From Black Friday

Though several reports have already highlighted that physical retail saw its numbers dip yet again in 2016 during Black Friday, there is a slight sliver lining to report.

When compared to an average shopping weekend in November — physical foot traffic was on fire during the long shopping weekend. Store foot traffic jumped 65 percent on Black Friday, compared to an average weekend, with clothing, toy, and electronic stores leading the pack for places frequented by consumers. Clothing and toy stores surged particularly with a weekend double-up in foot traffic.

Electronics stores doubled their average traffic on Thanksgiving and tripled it on Black Friday. Consumers were also more like to spend time in a store shopping — between 35 and 90 minutes on average during Black Friday — compared to the average 25 minutes consumers spend on a normal shopping trip.

But there are a few large caveats to offer.

Most consumers don’t shop on Fridays because they have jobs. Ditto Thursdays. Also, most weekends don’t feature the Gap selling everything in the store for 50 percent off — or the other sorts of deep and showy discounts that come up on Black Friday.

And, again, when compared against itself, Black Friday in 2016 was less widely shopped than its 2015 counterpart — when one is only counting physical foot traffic.



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