Chicago -- Shoppers continued their holiday quest during the week ending Dec. 8, according to ShopperTrak. Consumer activity drove a 7.8% increase in foot traffic and 6.5% increase in sales from the previous week.
Consumers, however, were not as active as they were at this time last year, and retail foot traffic decreased 0.7% and sales decreased 1.5% when compared to the same period in 2011.
The lags were not unexpected by ShopperTrak. This holiday season holds an extra full weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas, allowing shoppers more time to postpone their holiday purchases. Additionally, last week’s unseasonably mild weather across the country hindered sales of cold-weather seasonal merchandise.
While foot traffic and sales may have decreased slightly compared to last year, the week-over-week numbers improved, thanks in part to the onset of Chanukah. Many shoppers spent the week completing their purchases before the holiday began on Saturday, Dec. 8. ShopperTrak expects this pattern to continue with gains in foot traffic and sales leading up to the week of Dec. 16. The retail technology company forecasts that the week before Christmas will generate the largest weekly sales volume of the year.
“Shoppers have twelve days, including two full weekends, to complete their Christmas purchases,” said Bill Martin, ShopperTrak founder. “After this week, stores and malls are going to see business picking up as droves of consumers tick off the final items of their shopping lists.”
The best way for retailers to translate this expected increase in retail foot traffic into more sales is to measure and manage their shopper conversion rates, according to Martin.
“This information will allow them to respond to the holiday shopper’s uneven behavior and secure their bottom lines as the year draws to a close,” he said.