CHICAGO—In-store traffic was up in Target during the holiday season compared with 2019, while rivals Walmart and Best Buy declined, according to information obtained by Reuters.
Target’s foot traffic was up 6.2% from Nov. 1 through Dec. 25 compared with two years ago, according to Placer.ai, a research firm that collects anonymized location data from 30 million mobile devices across the country. Walmart foot traffic was down 0.1%, and Best Buy was down 11.5%.
Traffic does not always reflect trends in sales. “It's very hard to draw a straight line between store traffic and total sales and retail,” said John Mercer, advisory firm Coresight Research’s head of global research, to Reuters.
In-store traffic was down overall from Nov. 1 to Dec. 25 compared with the same weeks in pre-pandemic 2019, according to data from Sensormatic.
Target increased foot traffic in all 50 states except Hawaii and Washington, D.C. In-store shopping rose nearly 24% in Vermont and Idaho, compared with 2019, according to Placer.ai.
Walmart’s foot traffic was down in 20 states—mostly coastal areas, with the retailer harder hit in Florida, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware.
Best Buy was down in all 50 states except four, and analysts say the retailer had issues getting enough products to sell, including TVs and consoles, due to the global chip shortage.
This past Black Friday saw many consumers return to brick-and-mortar businesses for holiday shopping. In-store traffic was up 47.5% compared with 2020, according to Sensormatic, though traffic at retail stores on Black Friday dropped 28.3% compared with 2019 levels.
Peak traffic times were between 1 and 3 p.m., which is similar to trends in years past. Foot traffic at indoor malls on Black Friday rose 83.5% from 2020, according to Placer.ai.
Thanksgiving Day online sales were the same as last year at $5.1 billion. Target, Walmart and Best Buy were not open on Thanksgiving this year. Target said it will permanently close on Thanksgiving moving forward.
Americans decided to shop earlier for holiday gifts—some as early as October, and retailers spread out their offers to meet this demand. According to a survey from the National Retail Federation (NRF), the retail industry’s leading trade group, 61% of consumers had already started purchasing holiday gifts before Thanksgiving.