Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In

Black Friday: An Early Look

Ethan Chernofsky
December 2, 2020
Black Friday: An Early Look

Black Friday 2020 was never going to reach the ‘normal’ peak that this retail extravaganza usually hits. But, the recent rise in COVID cases and added restrictions created an extra obstacle for some states to overcome.

So, what happened?

Black Friday Dips

Looking at six top retailers, with a focus on those who have done well in 2020, shows that impact. The six saw an average visit decline of 26.3% compared to Black Friday 2019. And this does not take into account the fact that many of these retailers were closed on Thanksgiving, meaning a complete loss of those visits.

Note - Home Depot was also closed on Thanksgiving. The 'smaller' decline is because they were also closed on Thanksgiving in 2019.

Expanding Our View

Yet, while this drop is significant, it requires a wider picture to show what truly happened this year. While brands like Walmart and Target saw significant Black Friday drops, the days leading up to Black Friday, and even the Saturday after, show a very different situation. Target, for example, saw visits up 2.8% and 5.3% the Saturday and Tuesday before, and while Black Friday visits were down 26.9%, the Saturday immediately after saw visits down just 10.0%. Walmart saw similarly strong numbers with daily visit declines in line with what had been seen in previous weeks and months. Best Buy also saw a similar pattern.

And 2020 has taught us that it isn’t just the number of visits, but the quality that matters. All three of these brands saw significant year-over-year increases in visit duration, a major indicator that while visits may have been down, basket size may have increased significantly. Looking at the four-day period from the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to the Thursday after, Walmart, Target and Best Buy saw visit duration increases of 2.0%, 4.2%, and 6.8% respectively. Critically, these were dates in 2019 where the visit duration was already larger than normal.

Black Friday Successes?

Taking this more expansive approach to analyzing Black Friday is equally critical when looking at other retailers. Ulta, for example, saw visits growth of 0.8%, 4.6%, and 11.4% on Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday prior to Black Friday. And the Black Friday decline of 24.7% was followed by a Saturday where visits were only down 8.1%. The same held for Home Depot, who saw daily year-over-year visit increases of 33.0%, 21.2%, 18.8%, and 8.9% heading into Thanksgiving. But even after a 12.7% year-over-year visit decline on Black Friday, the brand quickly bounced back with visits up 15.0% the next day. Bed Bath & Beyond saw a similar trend seeing a 5.4% visit increase the Saturday after Black Friday even though they had experienced a 28.9% decline on the shopping day itself.


But, not every brand exists within the gray area. Dollar General saw a huge week where visits were up as much as 21.0% the Saturday before Black Friday, but were still up 0.6% year over year on the day itself. At Home saw visits down just 0.9% year over year on Black Friday before seeing a 26.0% year-over-year increase the next day. Big Lots saw a similarly minor decline on Black Friday before seeing significant year-over-year growth on Saturday the 28th.

Post Black Friday Rebound

Critically, the holiday season is not over. All of the brands analyzed saw the largest visit gaps on Black Friday before watching those gaps shrink dramatically, if not turn into growth, on the Saturday and Sunday that followed. Many brands are showing the capacity needed to overcome Black Friday losses, and should this trend continue, offline retail performance in this holiday season may be much better than many expected.


2020 is a year unlike any other and we need to keep this in mind when analyzing retail. Yes, Black Friday visits were down significantly year over year, but that doesn’t mean the same thing for all retailers. Many, like Target, Walmart, and Best Buy, had already pushed to spread the season to other days. But, they also saw increases in visit duration indicating that we could be in store for growth that could offset if not overcome offline losses.

Additionally, several brands saw their Black Friday strength move to other days. Ulta saw a major surge pre-Thanksgiving, while Home Depot, Bed Bath & Beyond, and At Home all saw significant upticks in year-over-year traffic the day after Black Friday.

Does this mean offline retail is going to have its best season ever? Of course not. Does it mean we will need to take into account the full holiday season before jumping to any conclusions about overall success? Absolutely.
How did other sectors and brands fare? 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.
Crocs’ Footwear Fairytale
Who Attends NCAA Final Four Events?
Eclipse Fever: How Did the (Retail and Hospitality) Stars Align?
Exploring Albertsons Companies’ Grocery Growth Mall Index: March 2024 Recap – Malls Rise Again Office Index: March 2024 Recap
Florida Spring Break Break-Up? Travelers Still Love Florida!
Provo-Orem and Ogden-Clearfield Emerging As Utah Hotspots 
Three Formulas for Experiential Retail in 2024
Aldi & Lidl Making The Cut
Texas Suburbs on the Rise
Exploring Luxury Hotel Brands’ Guest Segmentation
The St. Patrick’s Day Effect
How Can JOANN Make a Comeback?
Panera Bread Well Positioned for Possible IPO
Who Will Benefit From Family Dollar’s Downsizing?
Dave & Buster’s and Main Event Entertainment: Food and Fun for Everyone
Darden Brands: Location Analytics and Consumer Behavior
Nike and lululemon: a Strong 2023, Sprinting into 2024
Where Is Retail and Dining Foot Traffic Thriving in Early 2024? White Paper Recap – February 2024
Three Retail & Dining Chains That May Surprise in 2024
Specialty Discount Chains Rock Retail Therapy Mall Index: February 2024 Office Index: February 2024 Recap
Ulta Beauty Continues To Shine
First Watch Sails Into 2024
Hibbett Sports and DICK’S Sporting Goods: A Psychographic Analysis
Checking in With Discount & Dollar Stores
Peeking Behind The Curtain: Movie Theaters in 2023 and Beyond
Diving Into Brick-and-Mortar Eyewear
Getting Into Gear: Exploring The Auto Part Industry
Recapping Valentine’s Day 2024 Foot Traffic Trends
Fitness: A Strong Start to 2024
Dutch Bros. Continues To Percolate Visits
Super Bowl 2024:’s Postgame Foot Traffic Analysis
CAVA & sweetgreen Are On the Rise
Hats Off For Off-Price
Who Is Shopping at Malls?
Drilling Down Into Home Improvement
Walmart, Target, Costco & Superstore Space 2023 Recap
Catching Up With Shake Shack and Wingstop
Something To Chew On: Demographic Shifts at Steakhouse Chains Office Index: Looking Back at 2023
Recapping RBI & Yum! Brands’ 2023 Foot Traffic Performance White Paper Recap – January 2024
Who Shops at Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters?
Three Taco Chains to Watch in 2024
Starbucks and Dunkin’: 2023 in Four Data Points
Who Visits CVS and Walgreens?
Fashionably Frugal: Apparel in 2023
Catching Up With Fast Food
The Grocery Sector in 2023: An End-of-Year Recap
3 Mall & Shopping Center Trends for 2024
Bakery Chains Rising To The Top and Esri Partner to Deliver Geospatial Analytics
Tampa Tourism Trends
Going For The Green: The Changing Dynamics Of Country Clubs
Christmas Day Dining Recap
Major Urban Shopping Districts – Holiday Season Recap Office Index: December 2023 Recap
Recapping the 2023 Holiday Shopping Season White Paper Recap – December 2023
7 Retail & Dining Segments to Watch in 2024
Diving Into Holiday Season Favorites
Super Saturday and Christmas Eve Eve: A Winning Combination
3 Budget Grocery Chains Finishing 2023 On a High Note
Making It In America: International Chicken Chains Bring The Heat
Domestic Tourism at a Glance: A Q3 2023 Roundup
Five Pizza Chains On The Rise
Jewelry Brands Taking Advantage of the DTC Opportunity
Secondhand News: Kids' Thrift Shops
Recapping 2023’s Dining M&As
MetLife Stadium Kicks Off Football Season Office Index: November 2023 Recap
Small Coffee Chains Brewing Big Success White Paper Recap – November 2023
Thanksgiving Travel 2023 Recap
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