Black Friday store traffic improves from 2020, still down 28% from pre-pandemic levels

Holiday shopping to make a ‘good season’ for retailers: MasterCard senior advisor

MasterCard senior advisor Steve Sadove argues low inventory and high consumer demand makes it a seller’s market for retail stores.

Shopping at brick-and-mortar retail stores on Black Friday this year improved over 2020 but plummeted 28.3% compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

Preliminary data from Sensormatic Solutions also reported that while many continue to do their shopping online, customer traffic also rose 47.5% compared to last year's Black Friday, according to CNBC.

Black Friday shoppers wait in line to enter an electronics store that opened at 5 a.m. in the Dallas suburb in Frisco, Texas, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. ((AP Photo/LM Otero, File) / AP Newsroom)

"It’s clear shoppers are shopping earlier this season, just as they did last season," said Brian Field, senior director of global retail consulting at Sensormatic.

Field pinpointed COVID-19 and supply chain worries as the main issues moving consumers to spread out their holiday shopping.

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Field noted that Black Friday levels of shopping traffic had increased most in the South, followed by the Midwest and then the West and Northeast.

"If you start seeing outbreaks in the U.S., the thing that I think would drive [traffic down] would be if governments and communities start locking down again," Field said. "Otherwise, I think the trends will be very similar to what we expect them to be."

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FILE – Black Friday shoppers wearing face masks wait in line to enter a store at the Glendale Galleria in Glendale, Calif., Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. ((AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu, File) / AP Newsroom)

Amazon, by contrast, had a record-breaking Black Friday, according to CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer David Clark.

"Well, we're right in the middle of what we call 'Turkey 5,' which is between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, and we're off to a great start. We had a record-breaking Black Friday and we're seeing customers engaged," Clark told CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday.

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Clark said he did not believe inflation is having a profound influence on consumers yet.

Amazon facility in Alabama. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File / AP Newsroom)

"I don't see inflation particularly impacting consumers this holiday season so far, and we're very optimistic about what's to come," he said.

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