Preview: 2017 Super Saturday Shopping Trends

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by Brian Field on 12-12-17

With the second busiest shopping day of the holiday season – December 23rd (aka ‘Super Saturday’) – only a week-and-a-half away, we’ve dug into our retail traffic data to pull out a few Super Saturday shopping trends and nuances  for 2017 that retailers will want to know about.

Most important to note is that the 2017 calendar is distinctly different from the 2016 lineup, which will affect Super Saturday performance YOY. 2017 marks the first time since 2012 that four December Saturdays precede Christmas Day. Naturally, Saturdays in December are some of the busiest days of the entire year, and they become increasingly busy as the month progresses. In fact, ShopperTrak’s historical data indicates that shopper visits increase each Saturday, from week to week, as Christmas Day approaches. This is indicated by the chart below. Because of this, each of the pre-Christmas Saturdays in December is on ShopperTrak’s Top 10 Busiest Days of 2017 list.

Last year, several industry sources forecasted that Super Saturday would surpass Black Friday to become 2016’s busiest day, but that was not likely, as was indicated by ShopperTrak’s 2016 Busiest Days prediction, largely due to the calendar alignment of the week preceding Christmas. This is because Super Saturday (December 17, 2016) was too far away from Christmas Day to give Black Friday a run for its money. The following chart illustrates how Super Saturday shopping trends change, based on the day’s proximity to December 25th.

This year, Super Saturday falls on the day preceding Christmas Eve, which lends the 23rd plenty of urgency. And because Super Saturday is so close in proximity to Christmas Day, while also being the last full shopping day – retail stores have limited hours on Christmas Eve – a considerable number of shoppers are estimated to head to stores, making Super Saturday a solid contender for the second busiest day.

Additionally, retailers should not lose sight of the last Saturday in December – December 30. This day, which was not on our top 10 busiest days list last year, made it back into the 2017 ranking. Last year, the final Saturday in December was New Year’s Eve, causing traffic to dip, as folks opted to eat, drink and celebrate, rather than shop. This year, they will hit the stores for last-minute purchases, and retailers, especially those in apparel, footwear and accessories, will need to be stocked and staffed in order to capitalize on the increased opportunity.

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Brian Field is the Senior Director of Retail Consulting Practice for ShopperTrak, where he oversees the application of ShopperTrak's proprietary solutions to retailer-specific issues across different functional areas in order to drive top and bottom line store performance. Prior to joining ShopperTrak, Brian served in roles of increasing responsibility at Chico’s FAS Inc., including as the director of corporate store operations and finance. Brian has spent nearly four decades in the industry, and his experience includes: store sales and management, training, merchandising, strategic planning and analysis for brands as diverse as David’s Bridal, Circuit City and Macy's.