A retailer’s guide to ShopperTrak’s Top 10 Busiest Holiday Shopping Days, and how this 2017 holiday shopping prediction was created, and why it matters.
Super Saturday? Black Friday? Christmas Eve? Creating an accurate 2017 holiday shopping prediction — not to mention, the busiest days of the season — can be tricky business. This is especially true when accounting for the latest shifts in consumer shopping preferences.
Take Black Friday, for example, which once stood as the uncontested busiest shopping day of the year, yet industry experts have, in recent years, flooded the internet with predictions of the demise of Black Friday’s significance on retailers’ bottom lines.
At ShopperTrak, we stick to our data and take predicating the busiest holiday shopping days seriously, as the 10 busiest days bring in nearly half of a retailer’s seasonal sales opportunity. Revenue goals are on the line. In 2016, 44% of in-store opportunity showed up in store during ShopperTrak’s predicted 10 busiest days.
This year, once again, we’ve taken a data-heavy approach to producing ShopperTrak’s list of the top 10 most anticipated US holiday shopping days.
ShopperTrak’s 2017 Holiday Shopping Prediction: Top 10 Busiest Holiday Shopping Days of 2017:
- Friday, Nov. 24
- Saturday, Dec. 23
- Saturday, Dec. 16
- Tuesday, Dec. 26
- Saturday, Nov. 25
- Friday, Dec. 22
- Saturday, Dec. 9
- Saturday, Dec. 2
- Saturday, Dec. 30
- Thursday, Dec. 21
Why these days, in particular? Let’s dig into the holiday traffic data.
At the top of the busiest days of the 2017 holiday shopping prediction list? Black Friday – and we feel confident about it. Though Black Friday traffic may not reach the same peaks as it did during its heyday, the day’s significance remains uncontested. ShopperTrak’s historical data shows that, year after year, Black Friday continues to rank, by a wide margin, as the single busiest day of the of the holiday season. There’s no evidence that 2017 will be any different.
Our data indicates that the trend of retailers opening on Thanksgiving Day has had little effect on overall holiday performance (e.g., increasing shopping visits). In fact, it appears that Thanksgiving Day openings merely redistribute traffic numbers from the Wednesday before Thanksgiving as well as the Saturday and Sunday that follow. Last year, we saw a large increase in the number of retailers opting to close on Thanksgiving Day. This trend is destined to continue into 2017, which means that this trend’s effect on extended Black Friday traffic will be worth keeping an eye on. Be sure to check back here in late November for ShopperTrak’s Black Weekend analysis, which will splice traffic data to show precisely what went down, in terms of shopper numbers by day, region, hour, and more.
Last year, some experts predicted that Super Saturday would overtake Black Friday as 2016’s busiest day, but that, as ShopperTrak’s 2016 prediction reflected, was never likely to be the case – largely due to the calendar alignment of the week preceding Christmas. In 2016, Super Saturday fell too far away from Christmas Day to give Black Friday a run for its money.
This year, by contrast, Super Saturday falls right before Christmas Day, which lends the day plenty of urgency. The masses of shoppers who will likely hit the stores at the last minute make the Super Saturday a solid contender for busiest day #2.
This year, once again, Christmas Eve doesn’t make the cut for ShopperTrak’s busiest days of the 2017 holiday shopping prediction list, despite the fact that it falls on a Sunday in 2017. Regardless of the day of week, Christmas Eve historically attracts overall lower traffic numbers than the days surrounding it. This year will be no exception, as stores typically close early, given that Dec. 24th is not only Christmas Eve but also a Sunday. Ultimately, shoppers are destined to be engaged in other activities. But, this doesn’t mean that the 24th is not an important shopping day, as even though it’s a shorter shopping day, the traffic will be highly concentrated throughout the late morning and afternoon.
Saturday, December 30th
The last Saturday of December failed to make the list in 2016, as it fell on New Year’s Eve. This year, however, we’re expecting it to be a big day, one that’s full of shoppers using gift cards, making returns and hitting the stores for post-holiday sales and replacement gifts.
Coming in as number 3 on our list of slowest in-store shopping days, Cyber Monday is a non-event in the brick-and-mortar retail world, and it always has been. Undoubtedly, this won’t stop opinionated commentators from claiming that Cyber Monday is begetting the death of physical stores.
Don’t be fooled. What’s worth knowing is that Cyber Monday, which has only come into the spotlight in recent years, has, no matter how far back we look at our data, always seen low shopper traffic because it’s a Monday, not simply because people are online shopping. This is further compounded by the fact that, during the weekend before Cyber Monday, physical retailers see two of the busiest days of the entire year. Shopping fatigue is real, and so is having to go back to work.
With holiday retail sales expected to increase between 3.6 – 4%, now is the time to look at individual store or regional historical traffic data. Compare your brand’s traffic rankings with what we’ve listed here, and refine your holiday strategy accordingly. For your convenience, our Top 10 infographic [below] showcases tips for increasing operational efficiency – take a look.
If you enjoyed this 2017 holiday shopper prediction, be sure to stay tuned for future ShopperTrak coverage of 2017 holiday trends. For more information on ShopperTrak’s full list of busiest and slowest holiday shopping days, check out our infographic below, which includes insight into how to prepare for 2017 holiday season, or our media alert for additional detail.
Infographic: Top 10 Busiest Holiday Shopping Days of 2017:
[Click here to download a high-res version of the infographic.]