Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In

The End of Black Friday?

Ethan Chernofsky
November 21, 2019
The End of Black Friday?

We dug into the 2018 performance of nineteen top retail brands to analyze the impact of Black Friday ahead of the coming shopping season, and there are clear trends that speak to the changing offline retail landscape. 

What does the data tell us and how does this align with trends seen over the last year? 

Black Friday’s Offline Impact is Declining

With reports that 2018’s Black Friday saw drops in sales performance, it was unsurprising to see drops in visits as well. Of the nineteen brands analyzed for this study, only three saw growth in visits on Black Friday from 2017 to 2018. Marshalls led the way with 14.1% growth, while TJ Maxx followed close behind at 12.7% and Dicks enjoyed a visit increase of 4.4%. 

Many brands saw minimal declines year over year, including Kohls, Target, Walmart, and Bloomingdales, who all endured visit declines of less than 1.5%. Yet, this belies the larger drops that were experienced by Best Buy at 10.4%, Home Depot at 14.0% and Nordstrom at 15.8%.

The end result was an overall collective decrease of 4.1% on Black Friday 2018 when compared to the same day in 2017.


Potential causes abound, but there are several that could have an ongoing impact. Firstly, eCommerce is becoming a greater component of the Black Friday experience. Whether it be the convenience, the speed, or the ability to avoid the lines and madness of the Black Friday experience - eCommerce is a growing piece of the Black Friday puzzle that reduces visits.

Secondly, the rise of new retail holidays - from Cyber Monday to extended deals that reach as far as the week before Christmas - remove the urgency from Black Friday as the be-all and end-all of holiday season shopping. And this is borne out by data. Several of the brands that saw drops Year-over-Year on Black Friday actually saw increases overall for the wider period. 

Target saw their overall traffic increase by over 1% Year over Year even with the Black Friday drop, while Nike saw a Year-over-Year visit increase of over 1% in December 2018 following a drop in November. These results emphasize a critical point that the centrality that Black Friday used to have is actually spreading throughout the holiday season. This decreases the urgency of a specific day but isn’t necessarily having a negative impact on overall visits.

For others, like Walmart, Black Friday finishes a distant second to a more significant peak right before Christmas. Taking the period from October 2017 through December 2018, Black Friday visits rose 61.0% above the baseline in 2017 and 58.7% above in 2018. This was surpassed both years on the 22nd and 23rd of December where Walmart Supercenter visits rose 83.0% and 98.8% above the baseline in 2017 and 81.2% and 84.1% above the baseline in 2018.

Exaggeration Risks

There is also a significant risk of exaggerating the decline of Black Friday even with the declines. Best Buy, which saw a significant drop from 2017 to 2018, still saw visits that rose 504.5% above the baseline for the period from October 2017 through December 2018. While this is still lower than the 575.3% jump in 2017, the number is still a huge testament to the offline impact of Black Friday on Best Buy sales. It also dovetails with other factors like store closings and a greater emphasis on digital channels and Buy Online Pick Up In-Store initiatives.

Target too saw a drop from 156.9% above the baseline in 2017 to 153.6% above in 2018. Yet, again, it would require a tremendous stretch to not consider Black Friday as a powerful asset for the brand. Instead, a likelier reality is that offline visits on Black Friday will simply take up a slightly smaller piece of the pie, that brands are looking to increase with a more comprehensive approach to the holiday season opportunity.

Back-to-School Takeaways?

There is also a potential hidden warning in how Back-to-School 2019 was approached. Ahead of this critical retail period, there were reports of a significant retail slowdown. Yet, in the end, brands like Walmart and Target saw significant Year-over-Year jumps that had a huge impact on quarterly performance. 

What does this mean for the holiday season, especially with concerns that fewer actual days could impact sales?

While there was clearly a dip in in-store visits from 2017 to 2018, the idea that a continued or even more dramatic slow down could be in the works is still not proven out by data. In fact, the strength of Prime Day offline combined with the strong Back-to-School performance could even indicate a potential return to glory for Black Friday - speaking to the strength of these attempts to drive excitement and urgency.

So how will holiday shopping’s landmark day unfold this year? 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.
The CAVA Craze: A Location Intelligence Perspective on the Mediterranean Marvel
How Will Primark’s US Expansion Impact Target?
All Eyes on Eyewear
Northwestern U.S. Grocery Dive
Return of the Lunch: Salad Chains Are Thriving
Retail Media Networks – Off the Beaten Track
Bet Your Bottom Dollar: Discount and Dollar Stores Drive Foot Traffic
Ulta & Lululemon: Discretionary Spending On The Up
The Score After Q1: Sporting Goods Chains
Who Uses NYC Airports: Biting Into The Big Apple’s Main Transport Hubs
Off Price: Strength in The Face of Retail Challenges
Visits Improve for Home Improvement
Walmart, Target & Wholesalers in Q1 2023 – The Return of Mission-Driven Shopping?
Department Store Roundup: Q1 2023 Office Index: April 2023 Recap Mall Index, April 2023 – A Rebound on the Horizon?
How Will Bed Bath & Beyond’s Bankruptcy Impact the Retail Space?
Buffet Restaurants: Filling Up on Foot Traffic
Thrift Stores: Vintage Visits Drive New Age in Apparel
The Windy City: A Hub of Post-Pandemic Opportunity
Diving into Dining Traffic - Q1 2023
Bring On The Joe
A Dollar (or more) For Your Thoughts: Five Below and pOpshelf
Dining Out With The Cheesecake Factory
Retail Foot Traffic Recap – March 2023
Digging Into 2023: McDonald’s and Chipotle Update Office Index: March 2023 Recap
How Did Key Retail Categories Perform in Q1 2023?
Northeastern USA Grocery Dive
Movie Theaters Storylines for 2023
Ollie's Bargain Outlet: Discounters are Evolving
Leveraging Brick-and-Mortar Retail in 2023
America’s Evolving Work Patterns: A Deep-Dive into New York and Chicago Mall Index March 2023
Tuning Into Record Stores
Five Franchises To Watch in 2023
What’s Next For Domestic Tourism?
It’s Showtime! Movie Theaters in the Spotlight
5 Limited Time Offers (LTOs) Driving Restaurant Traffic
Department Store Deep-Dive: Belk
Regional Grocery Chains Staying Ahead of the Competition
Five Chains that Rightsized for Success
Unlocking the Potential of Offline Retail Media Networks
Dining Out With Darden
What’s in Store for Self-Storage?
Nike & lululemon Update: Strong Performance Amid Expansion Plans
Many Ways to Win: Midwest Grocery Deep Dive
Retail, Reinvented: The Rise of the Pop-Up Shop
Navigating a New Normal in Business Travel & Commutes Office Index: February 2023 Recap
Retail Categories Staying Strong in Volatile Environment
Ulta Beauty: Poised for Success into 2023 Mall Index February 2023: Reasons for Continued Optimism
Catching Up With DICK’s & Hibbett
The Miami-Dade Arena: An Advertising Slam Dunk
Car Washes Revving Up Visits
Tuesday Morning and Sunrises in Home Furnishing
Dining & Valentine’s Day Recap
2023: The Year of the Discount Store
Aldi’s Success Highlights Growing Demand for Value Groceries
5 Retail & Service Categories Holding onto Pandemic Gains in 2023
Visitor Insights from Super Bowl 2023
2023 First Look: Home Improvement Update
How Are Target, Walmart, and Wholesale Clubs Faring in 2023?
Department Store Deep-Dive: Nordstrom
Off-Price: Taking Off in Uncertain Times
Checking in On Middle-Class Hubs
Who Attends the Super Bowl? Office Index: January 2023 Recap
Focusing On Fitness: Q4 and January Recap Mall Index: January 2023 – Returning Mall Normalcy?
Location Intelligence Insights Into Concert Attendance
Winning Dining Strategies for 2023
In-N-Out Burger: What to Expect as the Brand Moves East
Location Intelligence Breakdown: Coffee Caps-Off 2022
Digitally Native Brands Lean Into Brick & Mortar
Washington, D.C. Population Changes & Migration Trends
A Location Intelligence Perspective on Macy’s Rightsizing
Amazon-Powered Shopping: The Future of Brick-and-Mortar Grocery?
Cold Weather, Hot Visits: Diving into Winter Resorts
Wawa and 7-Eleven: Leaning Into the “Slurpee Effect”
2022 and Beyond: Catching Up With McDonald’s & Chipotle
Let’s Have Some Fun! Going Out Is In’s Q4 2022 Quarterly Index Adds Industry Executives to Leadership Team To Drive Company's Next Phase of Growth
5 Emerging Retail Formats: 2023’s Brick-and-Mortar Evolution
Grocery Update: Zooming in on the Lone Star State
2022 Office Recap: The Year of the TGIF Work Week
What Lies Ahead for Brick-and-Mortar Luxury in 2023 Mall Indexes: December 2022 Recap
Looking Back on 2022’s Holiday Shopping Season
Post-Pandemic Migration Trends in New York
Top Retailers for 2023
The Live Sports Advertising Opportunity
Domestic Migration to the Mountain States: Small Shifts with Big Implications
New Year, New Food: 5 Dining Trends For 2023
This is Why Shop-in-Shops Are Everywhere
Super Saturday 2022 Recap
The San Francisco Shift