Black Friday E-Commerce and Foot Traffic Jump Compared to Last Year

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Those lamenting about the death of Black Friday might have to eat their hats since shoppers returned to stores for Black Friday deals at a higher rate this year compared to last.

Black Friday generated about $9.8 billion in online sales this year, marking an increase of about 7.5 percent from last year when those figures reached $9.12 billion, according to data from Adobe Analytics cited by CNBC

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And while e-commerce saw a productive day, brick-and-mortar stores had some gains, too. All told, in-store and e-commerce sales increased 2.5 percent year-over-year while indoor shopping malls saw a 294 percent spike in sales on Nov. 24 compared to the average day in 2023, data from Mastercard Spending and Placer.ai shows.

“This behavior deepens the thought that Black Friday remains the most significant retail day for most retail categories and retailers, but also that the value orientation of the day was even more of a draw considering the wider economic context that has dominated headlines in recent months,” Ethan Chernofsky, senior vice president for marketing at foot traffic analytic firm Placer.ai, said in a statement.

A lead analyst for Adobe Digital Insights told CNBC that the spending spree illustrated the public’s increasing interest in taking full advantage of deals, which will likely continue through Cyber Monday. Compared to 2022, consumers are more willing to spend money than when prices were higher.

But indoor malls weren’t the only ones enjoying a little bit of attention. Outlet malls saw a 412.6 percent increase in visitors on Black Friday compared to the average day in 2023; department stores saw a 333.8 percent jump; and there was a 200.1 percent growth at apparel retailers, according to Placer.ai.

“Comparing Black Friday visits to the daily average visits for all days prior showed a massive jump for indoor malls, open-air shopping centers and outlet malls,” Chernofsky said in a statement. “Yet, beyond the obvious value of these visit surges was the fact that the relative increases were higher in 2023 than in the year prior.”

Data firm MRI OnLocation tracked foot traffic in New York City and found that there was a 6.2 percent increase year-over-year this Black Friday, but a 16.3 percent decrease in shopping when compared to Black Friday in 2019.

Outside of New York City, the ’burbs are seeing a retail renaissance recently with big-box retailers such as Ross Dress For Less, TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack and World Market including other markets in the tri-state region in their expansion plans, as well as quick-service restaurants like Cava and Sweetgreen looking to reach remote workers.

Other brands that were established in New York City are looking to suburban retail spots as well in a pandemic-era bid to diversify market reach.

Yet it wasn’t all good news for brick-and-mortar retail. In-store sales only grew 1 percent year-over-year on Black Friday, a much slower pace than the 8 percent boost in online transactions during the same time, according to Mastercard.

And that’s expected to continue as more and more shoppers use multiple avenues to find the best bargains, Steve Sadove, a senior advisor for Mastercard, said in a statement.

“Consumers are also shopping smarter, using all of their tools — from searching across channels to cross-checking on apps and websites — to maximize value while they spend time with friends and family,” Sadove said.

Mark Hallum can be reached at mhallum@commercialobserver.com.