Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In

Black Friday 2021 Prep

Ethan Chernofsky
November 17, 2021
Black Friday 2021 Prep

Black Friday is rapidly approaching, and with it, questions of whether the holiday retail season will fulfill its unique 2021 potential. 

How could the season play out? We dove into the data to break it down.

2020’s Starting Point

Black Friday, known traditionally for the mass outpouring of brick and mortar retail enthusiasm, was better defined in 2020 as ‘what can go wrong, will go wrong’. Following weeks of improvement in overall retail, rising COVID cases in November created severe limitations for even the top offline retailers. As a result, visits were down significantly compared to the year prior.

2021 Rebound?

And though concerns may linger after the difficulties of last year, there are significant reasons for optimism in 2021. While visits were on the decline heading into Black Friday 2020, the timing this year is lining up perfectly. COVID cases are on the decline and retail visits are showing significant strength, likely resulting from pent-up demand for the holiday retail season. 

Looking at overall retail weekly visits shows that traffic has been strong compared to the equivalent weeks in 2019 since the week beginning October 4th. And the four weeks since October 11th have shown an average increase of over 4% compared to their 2019 equivalents – indicating that the pace is actually picking up.

Optimism Reigns?

Looking at top brick and mortar retailers only reinforces the optimism, with Target, Walmart, and Best Buy all showing visits up compared to the equivalent weeks in 2019. Since the week beginning October 4th, Target has averaged a massive weekly visit increase of 12.5% nationwide, while Walmart and Best Buy have seen average increases of 3.3% and 5.9%, respectively.

The traditional traffic crescendo into Black Friday also appears to be intact. Visits to these three retailers have increased consistently week over week since early October, indicating that visits are rising into Black Friday weekend.

And it isn’t just the kings of brick and mortar retail that are seeing strength. Looking at visits to Macy’s and JCPenney on Saturday November 6th and Sunday November 7th shows massive increases in traffic compared to the previous five weekends. This further deepens the notion that the holiday season offers unique potential in the brick and mortar environment, but also that the normal seasonality of the holiday season with its standard Black Friday peak could reappear. It also shows that key days off still provide an outsized draw for retail visits.

But one big question that does remain unanswered is whether the early visit jumps indicate that visitors are looking to finish with their holiday shopping earlier than usual. Should this hold true, the potential does exist for lower Black Friday numbers, even though the wider holiday season could see a boost.

Mall Performance 

A final area to watch is the mall sector – the home for many top tier apparel and beauty brands. Monthly visits for the Placer Mall Index – which analyzes visits for 100 top tier malls throughout the country – shows that visits were up in October compared to the same month in 2019. 

And while sustaining that comparative growth will be especially challenging in November and December, visits do appear to be picking up heading into the heart of the holiday season. Apart from the week beginning October 25th, visits have been rising week over week since late September. This is especially important as mall success could equal a lift for the brands across the apparel, dining, and entertainment spaces that are heavily embedded in the format.

Will the holiday season witness a renewed Black Friday vigor? Will the wider season succeed even as this key shopping day takes a step back? 

Visit to find out.

Get 3 brand & industry
breakdowns every week

Subscribe to the newsletter

Great! Prepare your inbox for data-driven insights...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get a Demo

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please provide a valid email
Please enter your email
Please enter company name

Thanks for reaching out!

One of our experts will be in touch soon

Try Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Checking in With Nike and Lululemon
Black Friday 2023 Retail Recap
Starbucks’ 2023 Holiday Menu & Red Cup Day Performance
Turkey Wednesday 2023
Who Attended the 2023 Pickleball Championship? 
Three Surprising Holiday Shopping Trends
What’s in Store for Ulta Beauty This Holiday Season?
Best Buy and Department Stores: A Holiday Deep Dive
Discount & Dollar Stores: Strength Toward The End of the Year
The State of Off-Price Retail: Discounts Seal The Deal
Placer Mall Index Recap: October 2023 Office Index: October 2023 Recap
Retail Corridors Ahead of the 2023 Holiday Season
California, Here Gap Comes
Checking in With Home Improvement
Getting Into the Glasses Game: Warby Parker Takes Over
Fitness Positioned for a Strong 2023 Finish
White Paper Recap: October 2023
Coffee Giants Brewing Up Business
Popeyes and Burger King Lead the Way
Diving into Yum!
Looking Ahead to Black Friday 2023
Blockbusters Drive Movie Theater Comeback
Crocs and Boot Barn: Shoe-Ins for Success
McDonald’s and Chipotle's Winning Recipe
The State Of Steak: Checking in With Texas Roadhouse
Pleasant Pastimes: Pickleball Potential Proves Potent
Who’s Driving Downtown Manhattan’s Weekend Revival?
Diving into Downtown Manhattan Foot Traffic Trends
Rite Aid: Rightsizing Right
Major League Soccer: Its Die-Hard and Casual Fans
The Anchor Recap: September 2023 Office Index: September 2023 Recap
Placer Mall Index Recap: September 2023
September White Paper Recap
The Consumer Habits of College Students
JCPenney: Rightsizing and Revitalizing
Pent-Up Demand Ahead of October Sales Events
4 Strategies Retailers are Using to Drive Traffic to Their Venues
5 Key Regional Grocery Players Impressing in 2023
Upscale Kitchenware Trending Up
Costco Finds More Room for Growth
Four C-Store Chains Making an A-Grade
National Parks + Outdoor Summer Activities
Diving Into Darden: Summer 2023 Update
The Summer Event Effect
Messi: Massive in Miami
Looking Back on Back to School 2023
The Anchor Recap: August 2023 Office Index: August 2023 Recap Mall Index: August 2023 Recap White Paper Recap: August 2023
Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Strikes Again
Big Scoop: We All Scream For Ice Cream
Sports Away: Lululemon & Nike’s Momentum Continues
Summer Visits Heat Up For Recreation and Outdoor Gear Chains
No CSS overwrite - July 2023 Office Index Recap
Staging - August 2023 Mall Indec
Mid-Atlantic Grocery Deep Dive
Experiential Chains Heating Up This Summer
Petco Goes Big by Going Small
Ulta Beauty: Leading the Discretionary Pack
Discount and Dollar Chains Continue to Thrive
Summer of Sports: DICK’s Sporting Goods and Hibbett Sports
Off-Price: Succeeding Into Summer
The Anchor Recap: July 2023
Superstores Maintaining Pandemic Gains Amidst Economic Headwinds
2023: Home Improvement at the Halfway Point
July 2023 Office Index Recap Mall Index: July 2023 Recap
The Taylor Swift Visit Lift
Southwestern Grocery Dive
July 2023 White Paper Recap: Halfway Point Review & Quarterly Index
Yum! Brands: Driving Dining Visits
Slurpees and Summer Movies Stimulate Consumer Foot Traffic
Cool Beans: Summer Coffee Update
Checking In on Back to School 2023
Crocs and New Balance Tip The Scales
Burger Bliss: Shake Shack and In-N-Out Stacking Visits
Chipotle & McDonald's Continue to Reign Supreme
Vibenomics and Partner to Enhance Retail Media In-Store Measurement
California Grocers Here We Come!
Marriott’s Different Audiences
Bonchon and Kura Sushi Thrive in the Fast-Casual Scene
A Shoe In: Footwear Climbs to the Top
Cheers! Raising a Glass to Beverage Retail Office Index: June 2023 Recap Mall Index June 2023 Recap – A Turn of the Tide and a Dive into Open-Air Lifestyle Centers
Local Kitchens: Redefining the Restaurant
Unlocking Urban Insights: The Value in Manhattan’s Employees
Ohio State Parks On The Rise
How is Inflation Impacting the High-Income Shoppers?
Five Fast-Growing Dining Chains
What To Expect From Prime Day and July Sales Events in 2023
The State Of Fashion: How Are Apparel Retailers Faring in 2023?
2023’s Latest Dining Success Story: GEN Korean BBQ House
The NBA Finals: A Location Intelligence Perspective
Moving the Market: The Impact of Domestic Migration on Housing Costs
Post-Pandemic Museum Update
The Darden-est Things