Midseason Briefing: Top 5 Holiday Traffic Highlights 2017

by Bill McCarthy on 12-14-17

If, in the midst of all the holiday pandemonium, you happen to be a bit behind on your email, gift shopping or, say, online reading, then this post is exactly what you need. We’ve compiled a list of ShopperTrak holiday traffic highlights that’s sure to fill you in on the season’s top traffic trends.

Without further ado, here are ShopperTrak’s Top 5 midseason holiday highlights (as well as reminders for the upcoming weeks!):

  1. Black Friday traffic exceeded expectations

    Generally speaking, Black Friday traffic remained right in line with 2016 traffic, decreasing minimally YOY. Extended Black Friday, which is the combined period of Thanksgiving night and Black Friday, visits were down merely -1.6% YOY, as opposed to -1% YOY in 2016. Surprisingly, traffic was impressive at outlet retailers this year, beating 2016 numbers. Check out our Black Friday recap here, for more detail.

  2. ShopperTrak’s busiest days prediction stands strong

    If you have yet to check out our prediction of the Top 10 Busiest holiday shopping days, stop reading this and review it right now. As of yet, our prediction seems to be on target. This means that retailers still have 6 of the 10 busiest shopping days of the year to get through before the year’s end. This is a marathon, not a sprint. The next upcoming busiest day that’s on our list is Saturday, December 16, which we’ve ranked as the 3rd busiest day of the season.

  3. Super Saturday may rival Black Friday

    We’re sitting on pins and needles, just waiting to see how our Super Saturday traffic numbers roll in. While some retail commentators have predicted that the the 23rd will outperform Black Friday, ShopperTrak predicted the opposite, as our historical data indicates that Black Friday will see the highest numbers. And regardless of how the rankings pan out, there’s little doubt in anyone’s mind that Super Saturday, with it’s close proximity to Christmas Day, will be one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

  4. The week after Christmas is as important as the week before it

    Considering the seven days before and after Christmas by their proximity to the holiday often yields informative insights that can greatly affect staffing decisions. This year, for example, pay attention to Friday, the 15th; Monday, the 18th; and Friday, the 22nd. These days each serve as an extension of December weekends that are in close proximity to Christmas Day, meaning they’ll likely see higher traffic numbers than typical December Fridays and Mondays. Friday, the 22nd, in fact, is projected to be the 6th busiest day of the year.

    Prudent retailers would be wise to also pay close attention to the calendar alignment of the week after Christmas, as the nuances of the 2017 retail calendar shifts do not end when Christmas is over. Saturday, December 30th, is another full shopping day that precedes New Year’s Eve. Shoppers will likely enjoy the extra days before the new year to exchange items, use gift cards or take advantage of the post-holiday sales.

  5. Busiest hours remain consistent, commit it to memory

    At ShopperTrak, we’ve made a habit out of graphing hourly traffic data, particularly on the year’s busiest day. One thing we’ve noticed over the years is that, in aggregate, people don’t seem to change their shopping habits all that much.  In fact, 2017 marks the fifth year in a row that ShopperTrak data indicates that 3 – 4 PM represents the busiest hour for retailers on Black Friday. And, as in previous years, the second busiest hour of the busiest day goes to 2-3 PM, followed by 4-5 PM — learn more here. Let’s just say that we wouldn’t be shocked if Super Saturday 2017 sees peak hours that resemble Black Friday’s.

Retailers, from everyone at ShopperTrak, best of luck finishing up this holiday season! For additoinal reminders on how to make the most of the remainder of the season, check out our perennially popular Holiday Prep. Checklist infographic. Happy holidays!



Read more posts by Bill McCarthy

Bill McCarthy is the General Manager of the Americas, in which he oversees regional efforts pertaining to the Traffic Insights business unit.