Black Friday traffic at U.S. stores down 52% even as online retail sales hit record high

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By: Market Watch/Associated Press

Black Friday online sales notched a new record this year as pandemic-wary Americans filled virtual carts instead of real ones.

Consumers spent an estimated $9 billion on U.S. retail websites on Black Friday, according to Adobe Analytics, which tracks online shopping. That was a 22% increase over the previous record of $7.4 billion set in 2019.

Meanwhile, traffic to physical stores plummeted as retailers tried to prevent crowds by cutting their hours and limiting doorbuster deals. U.S. store visits dropped by 52% on Black Friday, according to Sensormatic Solutions, a retail tracker. Traffic was slower in the Northeast and West than in the Midwest and South, said Brian Field, Sensormatic’s senior director of global retail consulting.

Jewelry and footwear saw some of the biggest in-person sales declines, according to RetailNext, a shopping tracker. Apparel sales were down 50%, while sales of home goods fell by 39%.

 

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