According to new numbers from retail data firm Placer.ai, visits to brick-and-mortar stores on Black Friday were down year-over-year at almost all retailers surveyed.
Placer.ai examined foot traffic data from malls, big box retailers, department stores, off-price retailers and specialty stores, which showed a decrease in visits compared to last year as well as three years ago, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. With few exceptions, visits decreased across the board, presumably with more shoppers looking for their holiday items online, and many cutting back on spending overall.
“The data serves as the latest indication of the ongoing decline of Black Friday’s centrality,” said Ethan Chernofsky, VP of Marketing at Placer.ai. “Nonetheless, the day did still drive a massive surge in visits with some retailers seeing increases of 300% or more on the average daily visits in November in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving.”
The only sectors that saw a positive growth in visits compared to last year were discount & dollar stores (+1.1%) and beauty & spa retailers (+14.6%). Superstores (-4.4%), shopping centers (-3.1%), department stores (-9.0%), clothing retailers (-1.7%), sporting goods stores (-4.5%) and electronics stores (-2.2%) all saw decreased traffic.
According to Placer.ai’s data, Ulta Beauty was the only retailer that saw a positive increase (+16.5%) in Black Friday traffic compared to 2021. Home improvement retailers The Home Depot (-12.4%) and Lowe’s (-18.8%) saw the largest decreases in the big box category compared to last year, while Sam’s Club (-1.5%) and Target (-2.0%) saw the smallest decreases in visits.
The department store category was hit the hardest, with all five retailers in Placer.ai’s report seeing at least a 5% decrease in visits. Macy’s (-13.4%), Dillard’s (-10.6%) and Neiman Marcus (-10.2%) had the largest changes in Black Friday visitors year-over-year.
“Even compared to a Black Friday in 2021 that was limited by rising COVID cases, and an active effort by retailers to shift focus away from the retail holiday, brick-and-mortar visits were down nearly across the board,” added Chernofsky. “The data serves as the latest indication of the ongoing decline of Black Friday’s centrality. Nonetheless, the day did still drive a massive surge in visits with some retailers seeing increases of 300% or more on the average daily visits in November in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. This shows that while Black Friday may not possess the draw it had in years past, it still retains a unique ability to drive urgency among consumers."