Festive peak is bonanza time for Western retailers. Shopper numbers balloon, and stores enjoy a vital spike in annual sales. But when exactly will stores be busiest? As we head into the 2019/20 season our special report reveals the Top 5 predicted festive peak shopping days across the globe.
Why the rush?
It’s the season of big family meals, parties, gift-giving and personal treats. Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah, closely followed by the start of popular Winter Sales and Epiphany in some European countries, are powerful retail traffic drivers. These are times when people are off work and are eager to spend, but they need organised stores and knowledgeable assistants as they tackle lengthy shopping lists.
For retailers, peak can be stressful. And for the unprepared, strong results aren’t guaranteed. Often opportunities to convert browsers to buyers are missed, purely because too few seasonal staff have been hired, and service in the store is not up to scratch. Pressure can be eased with the use of accurate traffic forecasts. Armed with data insights, store teams can be scheduled to meet shopper needs day by day, even hour by hour. More aware of what’s to come, they can face the music with confidence and flair.
What can retailers around the world expect for 2019?
Our report Festive peak shopping 2019/20 reveals the Top 5 predicted busiest shopping days across a range of countries. While the US has long seen Black Friday as the biggest shopping day of the season – in fact of the whole year – our prediction is that Black Friday 2019 (falling on November 29th) will only appear in two other countries’ Top 5 traffic peak days – South Africa and Canada. In the US, Black Friday is significant because many offices are closed, or people take the Friday off work after Thanksgiving to enjoy the full ‘holiday weekend’, while Europeans don’t have that reason to hit the shops.
It’s notable that footfall into European stores is predicted to be high on the Saturday following Black Friday, revealing that many shoppers do take advantage of special deals in shops. ‘Click and collect’ store pick-ups also generate a traffic bump.
Black Friday in the UK is thought to have grown in popularity because it falls on the final pay day before Christmas. Pay day combined with discounting are the main drivers, as opposed to the US where it is a holiday.
Local anomalies matter
ShopperTrak data reveals that organised German shoppers are most likely to head into stores for Christmas shopping in the middle of December (Saturday 14th) while the British and Irish are more likely to leave it late – Super Saturday on 21st December is predicted to be the top shopping day in these two countries.
Winter sales are enjoyed so much in France that Saturday January 11th is predicted to be the busiest day in stores, just ahead of Super Saturday pre-Christmas. In Australia, there’s a penchant for shopping on the last Thursday before Christmas – ShopperTrak data shows this is consistently the second or third busiest festive shopping day. In Italy and Spain Epiphany is very important, with major shopping days leading up to this January celebration and public holiday.
Let’s hear it for Super Saturday
The date that crops up most consistently across virtually all the countries we analysed is 21st December – aka Super Saturday, the last Saturday before Christmas. It features in every country’s Top 5 predicted busiest festive shopping days, apart from Mexico (where ‘Super Sunday’ features instead). In the UK in 2018, Super Saturday represented a £1.4bn sales opportunity for retailers, and businesses saw footfall on the High Street surge by 45% above the daily average on that day.
Grasping the golden opportunities
The commercial potential of these top shopping days cannot be underestimated, but conversions will only successfully be made if the right hiring, planning and preparation has been carried out. By leveraging insight from shopper traffic trends, retailers can optimise staff cover and scheduling decisions and merchandise floor sets, in order to make the most of the sales opportunities presented.
As the number of people who walk in goes up, service levels certainly should not go down. Delight shoppers on these important shopping days, and you could win their loyalty forever.
Download our report here: Festive peak shopping 2019/20