Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday traffic, sales up vs. last year except across the Northeast

CHICAGO — With the allure of deep discounts, doorbuster promotions and extended store hours, shoppers visited more stores and spent more money across the days of Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday than they did last year, ShopperTrak reported Saturday.

When compared to Thanksgiving and Black Friday last year, brick-and-mortar shopper traffic increased 2.8%, to as many as 1.1 billion store visits. Retail sales also increased by 2.3%, as shoppers spent an estimated total of $12.3 billion across the two days.

ShopperTrak estimates that total in-store shopper traffic and sales by region, compared to Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday in 2012, changed as follows:   

  • In the Midwest, regional traffic increased 2.3% and regional sales were up 3.3%;
  • The Northeast realized a 5% decline in traffic and a 7% drop in sales;
  • Retail traffic across the South was up 4.8%, and sales were up a similar 4.8%; and
  • In the West, traffic was up 6.9% and sales up 6%.

However, the numbers tell a very different story when viewing only data for Black Friday. When compared to Black Friday last year, brick-and-mortar shopper traffic fell 11.4%, and retail sales also decreased by 13.2%.

"The Black Friday shopping experience is changing with more shoppers choosing to go out on Thanksgiving Day," said Bill Martin, ShopperTrak founder. "Consumers increasingly research products online before entering stores. When they arrive, customers know exactly what they want to buy — retailers now need to make their experience a satisfying one."

For retailers, it's not just about getting the customers to the stores — it's about recognizing the value of each shopper who chooses to enter their store, Martin advises. Brick-and-mortar retailers must provide their customers a quality shopping experience that creates incentive to purchase immediately.

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