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Super Saturday and Christmas Eve Eve: A Winning Combination

by 
Lila Margalit
 on 
December 28, 2023
Super Saturday and Christmas Eve Eve: A Winning Combination

Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping season, but it’s far from the only important retail milestone of the year. Super Saturday (the last Saturday before Christmas) is when many gift buyers get their holiday shopping done. And on the day before Christmas Eve (Dec. 23rd, sometimes called “Christmas Eve Eve”), true procrastinators converge on stores nationwide for eleventh-hour food items and presents for loved ones. 

This year, December 23rd was a double whammy – with Super Saturday and Christmas Eve Eve all rolled into one. Some analysts predicted that the timing of Super Saturday so close to the holiday would lead to lower shopper turnout. But what actually happened? Was Super Saturday a bust this year? Or did the combined power of Super Saturday and December 23rd drive increased visit spikes? 

We dove into the data to find out. 

Super Saturday Rivals Black Friday 

For Clothing retailers, Department Stores, and Shopping Centers, there’s nothing quite like Black Friday. But even after the big day, these retailers continue to see increased foot traffic leading up to the holiday. Comparing daily visits to the three categories to year-to-date daily averages shows how this year, too, momentum began to slowly build back up after Black Friday. Each Saturday between Thanksgiving and Christmas drew progressively larger crowds – with visits peaking once again on Super Saturday.

For these traditional Black Friday winners, the visit spike on Super Saturday (this year, December 23rd) was smaller than the one seen on Black Friday. But it was a close call: Visits to Department Stores, Shopping Centers, and Clothing chains on December 23rd this year were just 6.6%, 7.2%, and 8.7% lower, respectively, than they were on the day after Thanksgiving. 

Superstores, which also enjoy significant Black Friday visit spikes, followed a similar pattern. But for this category, the December 23rd visit spike was 16.9% higher than the one seen on Black Friday – perhaps due to Superstores’ plethora of affordable gift options and their growing positioning as grocery destinations.

December 23rd Trumps Turkey Wednesday and Christmas Eve

Grocery stores, for their parts, as well as Discount and Dollar Stores, follow their own unique holiday trajectories. For many supermarkets, Turkey Wednesday (the day before Thanksgiving) is the biggest retail milestone of the year – and this year's Turkey Wednesday didn’t disappoint. But for the first time in several years, grocery stores actually drew slightly more visits on December 23rd than they did on the day before Thanksgiving – driven by the joint impact of Super Saturday and Christmas Eve Eve. 

For the Discount and Dollar category, the timing of the pre-holiday visit peaks tend to vary, with large visit spikes on Super Saturday and on the days right before Christmas. In 2022, the segment’s busiest day of the year was Super Saturday, followed closely by Christmas Eve. (For some chains, like Dollar General, Christmas Eve drew the biggest crowds). But this year, visits to the category on the combined Super Saturday and Christmas Eve Eve were a remarkable 22.3% higher than any other day of the year thus far. 

The Power of a Double Whammy

Comparing this year’s Super Saturday visit spikes to those seen in recent years shows that all the analyzed categories experienced bigger Super Saturday visit spikes this year than they did either in 2022 or pre-pandemic. Unsurprisingly, this shift was most pronounced for grocery stores, superstores, and discount and dollar stores – all of which offer a wide array of food items (and in the case of superstores and discount and dollar stores, also plenty of inexpensive gift options). 

Far from diluting shopper turnout, the combined power of Super Saturday and Christmas Eve Eve, it seems, carries some serious retail magic.

Key Takeaways

While the holiday shopping season follows some predictable patterns, each year sees the emergence of slightly different trends. Inflation, early holiday deals, and changing consumer behavior all left their mark on Q4 2023’s brick-and-mortar visitation patterns. But as this year’s remarkable Super Saturday turnout highlights, shifting patterns also present retailers with new ways to win at the holiday shopping game.

For more data-driven holiday season insights, follow Placer.ai/blog.

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