duck the malls

The three slowest days of the US holiday shopping season

January 5, 2014
January 5, 2014

The worst shopping day of the holiday season for retailers in malls and on Main Street occurred on one of the busiest shopping days online: Cyber Monday.

Dec. 2 “suffered from the lull following Black Friday,” and shoppers waiting for new deals to show up closer to Christmas, according to a new report by Euclid, which tracks shopping patterns by sensors placed in 850 US malls and shopping centers.

The slowest day came after droves of retailers opened on Thanksgiving, then pushed specials and coupons to lure shoppers back on the following days.

“Traffic was down significantly” in stores on Cyber Monday, and many shoppers were likely “showrooming,” a quick stop at a store and a purchase online later, says Breton Birkhofer, Euclid’s insights analyst, in an interview with Quartz.

It was been slow at Macy’s and boutiques, but online it was the busiest online shopping day in history, 18% higher than last year.

The second and third really slow days, in traffic and time spent in stores, came later that week:  Wednesday, Dec. 4, and Friday, Dec. 6, Birkhofer said. “Shoppers really took a break for a few days,” and those who did stop by didn’t stay long. Snowy weather and storms also kept people out of stores in many areas, he said.

Some view the slower days as calm quiet opportunities to buy amid the frenzy. In November, ShopperTrak predicted the slowest shopping days would be Dec. 4, followed by Dec. 3 and 2.  (Other weekdays before Dec. 17 also made its “best days to shop” list.)  A revised list based on actual data will be released this week.

Yet some retailers indicate the season had a string of worst days; Target, Limited Brands and Macy’s reported a disappointing holiday season and lowered their financial targets for the fourth quarter. So what were the busiest days? As expected, Euclid data show it was “SuperSaturday”—the Saturday before Christmas.

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