Forecast: The 10 Busiest Shopping Days of the Year

Chicago–The fact that Christmas falls on a Sunday this year will impact in-store shopping patterns, reducing the importance of Christmas Eve while likely leading to more crowded stores on Dec. 23 and the day after Christmas.

That is according to ShopperTrak, the Chicago-based company that has devices in stores that monitor foot traffic in order to give retailers insight into consumer behavior. The company is owned by Tyco Retail Solutions, which is part of Johnson Controls, an international company that provides performance and security solutions to retailers of all sizes.

The firm just released its annual list of the days it anticipates will see the most shoppers in stores this holiday season, as well as the days that will see the least.
Here are the days ShopperTrak expects to be the busiest this year.

1. Friday, Nov. 25, aka Black Friday
2. Monday, Dec. 26
3. Friday, Dec. 23
4. Saturday, Dec. 17
5. Saturday, Dec. 10
6. Saturday, Nov. 26
7. Thursday, Dec. 22
8. Saturday, Dec. 3
9. Sunday, Dec. 18
10. Wednesday, Dec. 21

One day conspicuously absent from this list is Christmas Eve, which this year is technically “Super Saturday,” as it is the last Saturday before Christmas this year.

ShopperTrak said that Super Saturday traditionally is busier the closer that it comes to Christmas Day, unless it also happens to be Christmas Eve, which is the case this year.

Because of that, the company said it is not expecting Dec. 24 to be a particularly busy shopping day, though this might not be the case for jewelers, many of whom usually are busy up until closing time on Christmas Eve.

This shift elevates the importance of Dec. 26 (No. 2 on the list) and Dec. 23 (No. 3 on the list), both of which are usually busier when they fall on or extend a weekend. That is the case this year, as the day before Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas fall on a Friday and a Monday, respectively, book-ending the weekend.

ShopperTrak also shared the five days in November and December that it expects to be the slowest in terms of in-store foot traffic.

1. Tuesday, Nov. 29
2. Wednesday, Nov. 30
3. Monday, Nov. 28, aka “Cyber Monday,” a big day for online shopping
4. Tuesday, Dec. 6
5. Monday, Dec. 5

Given its two lists, ShopperTrak offered some tips for retailers.
Know that annual activity patterns remain consistent. Optimize staffing and inventory on the days that’ll be the busiest.
Don’t open on Thanksgiving Day. ShopperTrak research shows that opening on this holiday only impacts the distribution of traffic, not the overall volume of traffic. It also negatively impacts staff morale, which is why a number of big retailers are remaining closed on Thanksgiving this year.
Don’t overreact. There’s usually a reason for daily ebbs and flows in the amount of traffic in the store, like the weather. Outline a well-reasoned game plan ahead of the holiday season and stick with it.

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