CHICAGO, Jan. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- More shoppers spent more at the cash register during the 2012 holiday season than they did the previous year, according to ShopperTrak, the world's largest counter of retail foot traffic.
ShopperTrak estimates that during the holiday shopping season of November and December 2012, national retail sales increased 2.5% and foot traffic also increased 2.5% when compared to the same two months last year. ShopperTrak's initial data indicates that shoppers spent $248.8 billion during this period. The U.S. Department of Commerce will release its December GAFO sales numbers in February.
The 2012 holiday season marked the third consecutive year with positive total retail sales. It also was the second holiday season of the past three with positive foot traffic changes.
"Our data indicates that more people visited more stores this holiday season than the previous year," said ShopperTrak Founder Bill Martin. "Retailers who understood their foot traffic were able to staff, stock and market to best serve their customers, ultimately converting more of the browsers into buyers."
Strong End to the Season
The 2012 holiday season had the longest interval possible between Black Friday and Christmas. Within these 32 days, shoppers had an extra weekend of holiday shopping. As a result, many consumers procrastinated in finishing their holiday shopping.
But once the late-bloomers headed out to stores, their last-minute shopping and post-Christmas exchanges drove large increases in both retail sales and foot traffic during the final days of December. ShopperTrak forecasts that for the week ending Dec. 29, sales increased 18 percent and traffic increased 14.4 percent compared to the same period last year. This indicates the largest year-over-year increase of the holiday season.
"Heavy discounting by retailers at the end of December led to increases in shopper activity across the board," said Martin.
Indeed, ShopperTrak estimates that three of the busiest foot traffic days occurred in late December. Though "Black Weekend" held its own – Black Friday, Nov. 23, retains the top spot and Saturday, Nov. 24 comes in as the fifth-busiest traffic day – the weekends leading up to Christmas saw the most shoppers at stores and malls. ShopperTrak reports that "Super Saturday," Dec. 22, was the second-busiest shopping day of the season, followed by Saturday, Dec. 15 in third and Sunday, Dec. 23 ranking fourth.
Similarly, the top sales days of the holidays took place largely toward the end of the season. Black Friday again led the pack, followed by Super Saturday. Dec. 23, Dec. 21, and Dec. 15, in that order, rounded out the top five best sales days of the holidays. They helped to close the holiday season on a high note, according to Martin.
"The presidential election and Hurricane Sandy drew consumers' attention away from shopping at the outset of the holiday retail season," said Martin. "However, lower unemployment, higher consumer confidence and stable gas prices positively influenced shoppers to make purchases this holiday season."
For more information about ShopperTrak's holiday season data and more, visit booth 2229 at the National Retail Federation's Big Show, taking place Jan. 13-16 at the Javits Convention Center in New York, N.Y., or visit www.shoppertrak.com.
About ShopperTrak's NRSE
ShopperTrak measures foot-traffic in more than 50,000 global locations and analyzes the data in a proprietary, econometric model to create its ShopperTrak National Retail Sales Estimate™ (NRSE) of general merchandise, apparel and accessories, furniture and other sales (GAFO). Its estimate precedes the federal government's official reports by several weeks.
ShopperTrak is a retail technology company that anonymously counts people, analyzes data and identifies opportunities to increase revenue for retailers, mall developers and entertainment venues. Founded in 1995, ShopperTrak counts billions of shoppers annually in more than 50,000 locations across 74 countries. The Chicago-based company has more than 200 employees with offices in High Wycombe, England; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Shenzhen, China; and San Francisco, Calif. Find out more at http://www.shoppertrak.com.