Placer.ai reveals what the holiday season could look like for U.S. retailers

By: Wajeeh Khan
Wajeeh Khan
Wajeeh is an active follower of world affairs, technology, an avid reader, and loves to play table tennis in… read more.
on Nov 30, 2021
  • Walmart was the only big box retailer that saw more traffic this Black Friday than in 2019.
  • The majority of U.S. retailers saw a sharp YoY increase in store visitors on Black Friday.
  • Data for foot traffic at indoor and outdoor malls on Black Friday was also somewhat similar.

Traffic at the U.S. retailers this Black Friday could not beat the pre-pandemic levels of 2019, but early data suggests it’s going to be a strong holiday season, Placer.ai said in its latest report.

Walmart took the lead in big box retailers

According to the foot traffic analytics company, Walmart was the only big-box retailer that reported an increase in store visitors on Black Friday on a year-over-two-year basis. Traffic at Walmart was up 2.8% versus the 2019 equivalent.

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The story, however, was a bit different for off-price and speciality retailers with names, including T.J. Maxx, Burlington, Ulta Beauty and Sephora, all surpassing pre-pandemic traffic levels this Black Friday.

On the flip side, none of the department stores Placer.ai covered in its report could beat 2019 levels. So, on a year-over-two-year basis, data for foot traffic at the U.S. retailers on Black Friday this year was somewhat mixed.

But that changes dramatically when the number of retail store visitors are compared with last year’s figure. Of 23 retailers from 4 categories (big box, department stores, off-price, and speciality), Lowe’s was the only one in the red this Black Friday.

The power of Black Friday in the retail space

In all fairness, the holiday season last year was hit by pandemic restrictions. But a remarkable surge in foot traffic on Black Friday compared to the daily average for the rest of November confirms that the U.S. retailers are set for a strong holiday season in 2021.

Even department stores, none of which, as per Placer.ai, could beat 2019 levels, saw an over 200% jump in store visitors on Black Friday versus an ordinary day in November.

Data for traffic at malls was also similar. On a year-over-year basis, both indoor and outdoor malls saw a sharp increase in visitors this Black Friday. Numbers were up more than two folds for both compared to the November daily average.

Traffic, however, was down a little under 10% at malls versus Black Friday of 2019.

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