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When Will Shoppers Flood Stores to Do Their Holiday Shopping?

RetailNext, an analytics team that focuses on brick-and-mortar stores, released its predictions for the busiest (and least busy) days during the holiday shopping season in 2016.

Paying attention strictly to physical retail spaces, RetailNext’s predictions reflect the days when they think the most people will be visiting stores, and doesn’t reflect online sales.

Here is the lineup, in descending order from busiest to least busy:

Top 5 Busiest Shopping Days

  1. “Super Saturday,” Dec. 17 (Saturday before Christmas)
  2. Black Friday, Nov. 25
  3. Friday, Dec. 23
  4. Saturday, Dec. 10
  5. Monday, Dec. 26

Here are the top least busy days, in terms of shoppers visiting stores:

Top 5 Least Busy

  1. Tuesday, Nov. 29
  2. Cyber Monday, Nov. 28
  3. Wednesday, Nov. 30
  4. Thursday, Dec. 1
  5. Monday, Dec. 5

Based on RetailNext’s predictions, the days right after Thanksgiving (with the exception of Black Friday) will be the quietest for brick-and-mortar stores. No surprise that shoppers will be staying at home on their computers for Cyber Monday.

“This year’s calendar, combined with the growing influence of mobile and online shopping and the retail industry’s seemingly endless stream of promotions, has conspired to dramatically change how and when consumers will shop the holidays, particularly over Thanksgiving and Black Friday,” said Shelley E. Kohan, RetailNext vice president of retail consulting.

“Hanukkah starts relatively late this year, and will push much of the holiday shopping into the later part of the season,” said Lauren Bitar, RetailNext’s senior manager, retail consulting. “For those shoppers who prefer to shy away from crowds, early in the season is best, particularly the week after Thanksgiving, and the absolute slowest time for shopping will be those mid-afternoon hours following lunch hour. On the other hand, for those shoppers who get a good part of their holiday cheer from busy holiday shopping, early evening weekday hours late in the season and all day on Saturdays and Sundays will likely see the heaviest crowds at brick-and-mortar stores, and mid- to late-afternoon on December 17 will be the absolute peak of the season.”

“The angst over Election 2016 is expected to subside by Thanksgiving. Compared to last year, there are two additional shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and when coupled with generally positive economic indicators, the retail industry has an opportunity to close the year strongly,” said Kohan.