Foot traffic on Black Friday this year fell 28.3 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels, with more Americans shopping online and kicking off their holiday shopping earlier in the fall season, according to retail technology solution provider Sensormatic.
Traffic was still up 47.5 percent compared to 2020, when retailers had to impose capacity restrictions to comply with regulations aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.
“It’s clear shoppers are shopping earlier this season, just as they did last season,” said Brian Field, senior director of global retail consulting at Sensormatic.
Some of the key reasons retailers saw a decline in foot traffic this year was because of both ongoing concerns about contracting the virus as well as concerns surrounding supply chain issues, which have resulted in limited access to products this holiday season.
That being said, Black Friday is still projected to be the busiest in-store shopping day of the 2021 holiday shopping season.
Foot traffic was highest in the South, followed by the Midwest, the West and Northeast, with the number of consumers shopping in physical stores returning to 2019 levels.
According to Field, the spread of the Omicron variant, which is yet to be detected in the U.S., did not have any impact on the shopping behaviors of Black Friday shoppers.
“If you start seeing outbreaks in the U.S., the thing that I think would drive [traffic down] would be if governments and communities start locking down again,” Field said. “Otherwise, I think the trends will be very similar to what we expect them to be.”