Local search and location-sharing platforms Foursquare and Swarm, which can track where users are while out and about, both say they were less often in stores and more often shopping online on Black Friday.
Store foot traffic was down 2%, according to data from the two apps.
Specialty apparel stores, electronics retailers, toy stores, mobile stores, and department stores were among the biggest losers of foot traffic, according to Foursquare, while big box stores, bookstores, and grocery and food specialty stores actually saw foot traffic rise.
Foot traffic was down this holiday season according to several measures, including those by these location-sharing apps.
But, while online shopping seems to have taken a toll on foot traffic on Black Friday, the story is incomplete without taking into account other factors.
Early marketing of holiday promotions sent foot traffic higher throughout November, for example, according to store analytics company RetailNext.
“The sales and traffic numbers only tell a partial story as retailers with strong digital businesses saw an uptick in the online channels that will positively impact the overall performance of the brand,” said RetailNext VP of retail consulting Shelley E. Kohan. “The weekend continued to demonstrate the emergence and importance of mobile shopping, and shoppers increasingly used digital devices to shop brands, research products, compare pricing and make purchases.”
And the advantage that physical stores have in allowing shoppers to take home their purchases will likely increase as December wanes, according to Foursquare COO Jeff Glueck.
“In the coming few weeks of the whole holiday season this advantage will be even more true, as shipping cut-offs come into play in the final weekend,” Glueck wrote in a Medium post.