We're turning our attention to the savvy consumer's Super Bowl coming up next week: Black Friday.
We'll be tracking it all here at the Big Story Blog: tips, rumors and the run-up to the big day. Plus around-the-clock coverage of Black Friday itself -- amped up with your observations on the street and the shopping floor via Twitter, Instagram and sharing your favorite pictures before and after with post-gazette.com readers world-wide by uploading them to our special Black Friday photo gallery. So bookmark us -- and plan on sharing your own Black Friday adventures with us, too.
But for now, what better way to help you plan your holiday shopping than to get you the inside industry info on the busiest (and least busy) dates on the holiday calendar ahead?
ShopperTrak estimates there were 684 million store visits last year over the Thanksgiving holidays (otherwise known as the Black Friday weekend). That’s a whole lot of people lining up for the cheap TV, hovering for a parking spot or trying to use the bathroom.
But pre-Black Friday sales have already begun and there will be plenty of post-Black Friday promotions, so choosing when to hit the stores is a personal decision with plenty of leeway — depending on your tolerance for crowds.
Some people love the Black Friday festive chaos that Purdue University professor Richard Feinberg recently described in an analysis of the retail occasion as a “pep rally for holiday season.” By his count, the Saturday before Christmas is actually the biggest shopping day of the holiday season, based on sales, although the Friday after Thanksgiving is generally one of the top five busiest.
Chicago-based ShopperTrak, which counts shoppers around the globe, issued this list of the days that it expects will be the busiest in the stores, based on foot traffic.
1. Friday, Nov. 23 (Black Friday)
2. Saturday, Dec. 22 (Super Saturday)
3. Saturday, Dec. 15
4. Saturday, Dec. 8
5. Wednesday, Dec. 26 (Day after Christmas)
6. Sunday, Dec. 23
7. Saturday, Nov. 24 (Black Saturday)
8. Friday, Dec. 21
9. Sunday, Dec. 16
10. Saturday, Dec. 1
For those who like a little more elbow room, ShopperTrak predicts the best days to shop -- based on those with the least number of customer feet in the store being ranked highest -- will be:
1. Tuesday, Nov. 27
2. Monday, Nov. 26
3. Wednesday, Nov. 28
4. Tuesday, Dec. 4
5. Thursday, Nov. 29
6. Monday, Dec. 3
7. Wednesday, Dec. 5
8. Thursday, Dec. 6
9. Monday, Dec. 10
10. Tuesday, Dec. 11.
Depending on your tastes, plan accordingly.
(Top image: Volker Kreinacke/Getty Images)