January 4, 2019

In-store traffic is down, but not out

Retailers benefit from last-minute shopping at brick-and-mortar outlets as traffic increases on select holiday shopping days, survey shows.

By DC Velocity Staff

Though in-store shopping traffic was down overall this past holiday season, retailers got a boost from last-minute in-store purchases in the three-day run-up to the Christmas holiday, according to survey data from industry analyst ShopperTrak, released January 3.

Compared with 2017 data, in-store traffic grew 2.3 percent on December 22—also known as "Super Saturday"—and increased 3.8 percent in the combined three days leading up to Christmas day, the ShopperTrak survey showed. In-store traffic increased in the last 10 days of the holiday shopping season as well—although only marginally, at 0.3 percent, the survey showed.

Overall, total in-store traffic for the holiday shopping season, which runs from November 18-December 29, was down 3 percent year-over-year, ShopperTrak analysts said.

The results echo retailers' recent efforts to increase in-store traffic in light of omnnichannel business trends. ShopperTrak analysts say the timing of the holiday played a key role as well, allowing retailers to extend holiday shopping hours for the entire weekend prior to Christmas.

"While holiday traffic was down overall, the fact that Christmas Day came on a Tuesday, rather than a Monday, played a pivotal role in creating more last-minute shopping activity," Brian Field, senior director of global retail consulting for ShopperTrak, said in a statement announcing the survey results. "This year, retailers promoted extended shopping hours for the entire weekend in-store, helping attract more late shoppers and increase brick-and-mortar activity right before the holiday and continuing through the end of December."

The top three in-store holiday shopping days in 2018 were Black Friday, November 23; Super Saturday, December 22; and Saturday, December 15, according to ShopperTrak.

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