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How Do the Holidays Impact Local Foot Traffic?

Data Scout is LSA’s series that curates and draws meaning from third-party data. Running semi-weekly, it adds an analytical layer to the industry data that we encounter in daily knowledge building. For LSA original data, see the separate Modern Commerce Monitor™️ series.


To prepare for Localogy’s Place Conference that kicks off today, we’ve been diving into GroundTruth’s latest data on holiday shopping. As we’ll discuss with GroundTruth co-founder and CEO Sunil Kumar in a panel discussion tomorrow, this can inform marketers on optimal media planning during the holidays.

Entitled 2019 Holiday Strategy Playbook, the report can be read in full here. Meanwhile here are a few relevant nuggets worth highlighting.

—  Last year, Thanksgiving Day generated $3.7B in e-commerce sales, with a 28% YoY growth rate.

— Black Friday is good business for malls, which see 159% uptick in foot traffic.

— For Black Friday 2018, 40% of women respondents and 42% of male respondents stated that they would visit 3 to 5 stores.

— 38% of e-commerce sales last Thanksgiving Day came from smartphones, compared to only 33% on Black Friday.

— Visitation to Electronics Stores increases 212% over quarterly the average.

— Big-ticket items like jewelry drove a 168% increase in foot traffic.

— Sporting Goods Stores, Department Stores and Beauty Stores rise in the triple digits as well.

 — 34% of shoppers purchased their last gift by December 18th last year, which means that 66% of shoppers can still be influenced in the week leading up to the holiday

— 31% of those shoppers waiting until the last 3 days to complete their shopping.

— In the 2 weeks leading up to Christmas, 51% of consumers plan to make their remaining purchases, while 41% plan to head to Department Stores, 25% to Discount Stores, 21% to apparel stores and 17% to Electronics Stores.

— Almost 30% of consumers plan to shop in-store for holiday gifts because they find better inspiration versus online shopping

One lesson from all of the above: We live in a multi-device world of online and offline shopping, where brands and local marketers need to focus on the audience more than the medium/channel. For more color, here’s what Kumar told us about the results and strategic implications in a recent interview.

One takeaway for Black Friday: this retail holiday provides good business for malls, which see 159% uptick in foot traffic. While visitation patterns showcase that Black Friday is still a huge holiday for brick-and-mortar, Thanksgiving Day seems to appeal to those recovering from their meal on the couch and shopping and online — 38% of eCommerce sales last Thanksgiving Day came from smartphones, compared to only 33% on Black Friday.

Additionally, our Holiday Season Strategy Guide includes some interesting findings about last-minute shoppers. We know in the last 2-weeks leading up to Christmas to do their shopping — 51% of consumers plan to make their remaining purchases, 41% plan to head to department stores, 25% to discount stores, 21% to apparel stores, and 17% to electronic stores. And just who are the true last-minute shoppers who shop the week before Christmas? That would be Generation Z consumers, whose foot traffic increased 71% the week before Christmas compared to the total holiday timeframe.

The point of all of this is for marketers to target the right in-market audiences to maximize ROI for location-targeted campaigns. But in this case, temporal relevance joins location relevance in reaching the right target audiences for whom the probability of marketing influence is greater.

See more about the Place conference here.


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