Dec. 26 to See Up to 60 Percent Increase in Foot-Traffic Over Last Year — Calendar shift may catch retailers unprepared —
CHICAGO, Nov. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Retailers may get a late Christmas gift this year – up to 60 percent more shoppers will walk through their doors on Dec. 26 than on the same day last year.
According to ShopperTrak — the world's largest provider of retail and mall foot traffic counting services — shoppers will come out in full force on the day after Christmas because it falls on a Monday for the first time in six years. That day will rank third in foot-traffic for the holiday shopping season, surpassed only by Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, and Super Saturday, the Saturday one week before Christmas.
"Dec. 26 is a very important shopping day, as shoppers return unwanted gift items and shop for marked-down merchandise," said Bill Martin, ShopperTrak co-founder. "If retailers depend on last year's shopper turnout and behavior as a guide for staffing and inventory plans, they will lose out on business this year. Dec. 26 is going to be a door-buster day."
Each day has a foot-traffic signature
According to ShopperTrak, each day of the week has a different traffic signature. Last year, Dec. 26 fell on a Sunday, a day that generally features abbreviated shopping hours, church service conflicts and even store closings tied to local "blue laws." This year, the important shopping day falls on a Monday — meaning regular shopping hours are available to consumers still on vacation and eager to leave the house on the day after the holiday.
"The last time Dec. 26 fell on a Monday was 2005. We saw an increase in foot-traffic that day, due entirely to its position in the week," said Gary Dispensa, ShopperTrak senior economist. "Using our historical data, unique econometric model and traffic counts from more than 25,000 locations across the country, we're confident foot-traffic on Dec. 26 will greatly increase from what retailers saw last year — even with the recession."
Recession's effect on traffic
While 2005 is a pre-recession data point, ShopperTrak accounted for economic factors and weighted the analysis comparatively. Were the United States not in a recession, retailers could have expected as much as a 67 percent increase in foot-traffic.
National foot-traffic has been steadily falling since 2005. Time-pressed consumers conduct more pre-shopping research online and higher gas prices discourage car trips. Nevertheless, retailers can still expect a big lift this Dec. 26 over last year. "The percentage change in foot-traffic will be up to 60 percent more, whether stores had one customer walk through the door last year or 1,000," said Dispensa.
"Retailers should begin planning now to convert the shopper surplus they'll see on Dec. 26 to sales," added Martin. "Scheduling more floor staff to minimize line abandonment, filling stock rooms with inventory and increasing store hours could make a big difference. Don't depend on last year's experience. Only by monitoring same-store traffic can you ever really know what's going to happen in the store and make smart decisions to capture sales."
Chicago based ShopperTrak is a technology company whose products and services anonymously count people, analyze the data and reveal opportunities to create financial efficiencies in operations and marketing. Global retailers and mall owners have relied on our service to provide critical, daily store performance data. We offer our counting solution as a Managed Service, leaving the client to focus on their core business. Our Managed Services are further enhanced with our Business Analytics offering, an exclusive data set projecting the number of available shoppers in a defined market. With over 40,000 managed devices in service, collecting billions of shopper visits yearly, we are the global leader in people counting and store performance analysis. ShopperTrak is a privately held entity headquartered in Chicago with operations in Europe, Middle East and Asia. For more information, visit www.shoppertrak.com.