This commentary originally ran on Medium.
This time of year is known for its blitz of shopping news: deals, trends, analysis. But a week before Black Friday, we at Foursquare have insights into expected foot traffic and in-store visits like no other technology company. How? We understand the consumer's physical journey in unique and groundbreaking ways.
Although in-store shopping is declining and e-commerce is growing wildly, over ninety percent of commerce still happens in the real world. As a location intelligence company that delivers best-in-class consumer experiences, Foursquare keeps up with millions of phones as they visit malls, boutique shops, big-box chains and the like. Our data has an extremely tight correlation with business results. We've proven it again and again.
In this new holiday analysis, we reviewed our data on past gifting seasons to understand what we'll see in 2016. The headline: Overall 2016 Black Friday foot traffic will be down about 3.5% compared to last year. This dip is far less severe than the year-over-year drop from 2014 to 2015.
To understand areas of softness and success, Foursquare's data scientists looked at how specific brands and categories will fare. Of course, there are many other factors like online and in-store promotions, unseasonably warm weather and the election year that may impact performance, but we believe our analysis is a strong benchmark from which retailers should be making key holiday-season decisions.
Now more than ever it's important for retailers to understand what to expect from — and how to optimize — the holiday season.
Let's start from the beginning.