One of the most important factors in driving offline retail success is the ability to take advantage of holidays - or any day that creates a built-in incentive to visit a retail location. Whether it be Black Friday, Turkey Wednesday for grocers or even Amazon’s Prime Day festivities, there is a seemingly endless list of opportunities to galvanize audiences to visit a store.
So we decided to look at four of the biggest retailers in the US to get a sense of the days that define the retail calendar.
Walmart may be the undisputed king of offline retail, and much of that centers around its ability to drive excitement and interest throughout the calendar. As opposed to many, Walmart’s peak comes in the days before Christmas with an annual peak hitting on the 23rd, the day before Christmas Eve. 2019 didn’t disappoint, with the day bringing in visits that were 89.2% above the baseline for the year.
There are clear peaks before Easter, Mother’s and Father’s Day, as well as the obvious Black Friday bump, in addition to an ongoing push in the back-to-school season. The capacity to effectively take advantage of so many key time periods is a hallmark to Walmart’s ongoing success.
Target, another top player in the retail space, sees a slight less diverse group of peaks. Black Friday remains the key day in Target’s calendar, driving visits 181.3% above the baseline in 2019. Yet, Target has also shown a proclivity to dominate both the back-to-school period and the buildup into Christmas, with both periods driving major benefits to the general merchandise leader.
For Target, the day before Easter provides one of the few major peaks outside of the holiday and back-to-school seasons, with visits rising 81.7% above the baseline on that day. If the retailer can identify another opportunity to drive visits with the same strength as the late summer or holiday period, the impact could catapult the brand to an entirely new level of success.
Looking for an apparel retailer to break the mold takes us to Macy’s. Here too, the same patterns emerge as with the previous retailers. Black Friday and the holiday period present a cycle of enormous value that is unmet throughout the rest of the year. Interestingly, they do see a significant peak, relatively, on Memorial Day, a day that apparel retailers have seen success with emphasizing.
The real questions will be whether brands like Macy’s can help widen their focus, and decrease their heavy reliance on the holiday period.
But the biggest case of Black Friday focus may come from Best Buy. The brand sees visits rise 641.9% above the baseline on the shopping holiday. Smaller peaks throughout the rest of the holiday season come nowhere near the incredible standard the brand sets on Black Friday.
And while this is certainly important, it also highlights the massive opportunity to help galvanize audiences throughout the year. Whether it be Mother’s or Father’s Day, or an Amazon-esque attempt to create their own holiday, Best Buy has huge opportunities for growth if it can better leverage the period between January 1st and Thanksgiving.
Holidays matter in retail. They create a sense of urgency and excitement that can galvanize audiences. And whether it be taking advantage of holidays we’re already familiar with or creating new ones, the best brands are adept at taking advantage. The real test in 2020 will be who can better widen their hold on the calendar to spread the benefits more evenly throughout the year.