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Placer Bytes: Starbucks and Department Stores Ahead of Black Friday

Ezra Carmel
November 22, 2022
Placer Bytes: Starbucks and Department Stores Ahead of Black Friday

The holiday season is an important time not just for retailers but for coffee chains as well, as these brands get a boost in foot traffic from thirsty consumers going about their holiday shopping. As Black Friday draws nearer – and with the official kickoff of holiday shopping – we dove into the foot traffic data for department stores and Starbucks to take a closer look at the status of holiday retail thus far.

Destination Department Stores

Leading up to Black Friday, foot traffic analysis for the department store segment lends insight into the current overall position of brick-and-mortar retail.

Already, department store foot traffic is surging as shoppers are taking advantage of early-bird deals. Department store visits spiked dramatically week-over-week (WoW) the week of November 7th, 2022, up 16.5% from the previous week. 

In comparison to the equivalent weeks in 2021, location data shows that department store visits prior to Black Friday spiked a week earlier last year – though the surge (10.7%) was less dramatic. This indicates that the holiday season is not as extended as it was in 2021 and that customers are willing to wait for the best promotions and bargains. If that is the case, Black Friday 2022 could be even bigger than last year. 

Holidays in a Cup

Just as holiday shopping hits its stride, Starbucks is looking to drive visits from shoppers out and about. The chain is particularly successful at dictating the start of any retail season and the holidays are no exception. 

Foot traffic data shows that Starbucks’ holiday menu launch on November 3rd, 2022 has already increased traffic to the company’s locations. Visits to Starbucks rose by 17.1% WoW the week of October 31st, 2022, and the chain’s foot traffic climbed even further the week of November 7th, 2022 as WoW visits rose another 5.8%. 

Starbucks proves it is the go-to destination for holiday drinks and has the power to usher in the season with its menu lineup. 

Red Cup Day: Filled to the Brim

Starbucks’ success doesn’t stop with creating its own seasonal calendar. The chain is also incredibly adept at getting customers on board with promotional events that provide an even bigger boost to foot traffic. 

This year’s Red Cup Day on November 17th, 2022 celebrated 25 years of Starbucks’ signature holiday cups with the return of a free reusable cup with any holiday beverage order. The initiative brought a surge in foot traffic on Red Cup Day and will likely foster brand loyalty throughout the season since customers can reuse the cup to earn rewards and discounts.

Visits to Starbucks on Red Cup Day 2022 were well above the average for the previous five Thursdays (101.6%) as well as the daily average for November 2022 (64.8%). Red Cup Day 2022 also outshined Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte launch with 49.2% more visits on Red Cup Day than the daily average that week. 

While Red Cup Day 2022 visits were slightly lower than Red Cup Day 2021, this speaks more to the strength of 2021’s holiday retail season than any lagging performance from Starbucks this year. Red Cup Day 2022 outperformed Red Cup Day 2019 with 12.7% more visits to the chain which indicates that shoppers are looking for holiday cheer in a cup more than they did three years ago. 

Good Things Brewing

The success of Starbucks’ holiday promotions so far, as well as the surging department store foot traffic ahead of Black Friday, are likely an indication of the strong holiday season in store for brick-and-mortar retail.

For updates and more data-driven retail insights, visit

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