By Sara Korab Retail Trends Director

Last Updated: December 3, 2020

For this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday recap, we’ve partnered with location data company X-Mode to understand the changes in foot traffic to large retailers on Black Friday in 2020 compared to 2019 nationally and for all 50 states.

In addition, we’ve updated our Retail Index, which tracks same-day consumer purchase intent across hundreds of e-commerce storefronts and average order size across a typical basket of goods for online retailers in apparel, electronics, housewares and other categories. Finally, we asked consumers about their shopping habits on Black Friday and compared our Retail Index predictions in October to what actually happened.

Key Findings:

  • Anonymized location data shows that consumer foot traffic on Black Friday was down significantly year-over-year, including 72 percent for Apple Stores and 32 percent for Walmart.

  • All 50 states had declines in foot traffic across all retailers tracked. The most significant declines were in New Mexico, Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Minnesota.

  • For the week ending November 28th, 2020 (Week 48), same-day online purchase intent was 15 percent higher than the same week in 2019. Compared to 2019, same-day online purchase intent has been higher for each of the last 15 weeks.

  • The Retail Index for Average Order Size has seen record highs during the last three months, higher than any other months on record.

  • Consumers continue to be deal-driven, with two-thirds proactively checking coupon sites and related online and offline media or publishers.

In-Store Sales

Our own research conducted in October predicted that in-store traffic overall for Black Friday would drop by 57 percent, as just 30 percent of shoppers surveyed said they would visit a store this year (compared to 52 percent in 2019).

So what actually happened? Based on anonymized location-data from X-Mode, year-over-year foot traffic was down at major retailers, such as Macy's, at least 22 percent and sometimes as much as 72 percent. Retailers that sell perishables had smaller year-over-year drops.

Declines in foot traffic were different across the country, with western states having more significant declines in foot traffic. New Mexico, Oregon and Washington were among the states with the biggest declines in foot traffic and are states with new, recent state-wide restrictions on business. Massachusetts, Florida, Maryland, South Carolina and North Dakota showed the lowest drop in traffic, although they still showed declines of about one-third.

The list below shows all states ranked from the most decline in foot traffic to least across major retailers. Vermont and Washington D.C. were excluded due to low sample size.


Our Retail Index, which measures same-day purchase intent for hundreds of online retailers, shows that online shopping was up nearly 15 percent compared to 2019. This is significant because the e-commerce holiday shopping season started approximately four weeks earlier in 2020 compared to 2019.

The Retail Index of Purchase Intent measures consumers’ intent to purchase same-day on hundreds of online retailers. The vertical axis is an index value for comparison purposes.

In addition to more consumers shopping online, average order size of purchases was higher in the last three months than any month since the inception of the Retail Index in 2018. The Retail Index measures an average order across a typical basket of goods for online retailers in apparel, electronics, housewares and other categories. We take this to mean that consumers are making more highly considered purchases online, including appliances or apparel that they might have previously preferred to see or try on in-store.

Consumer Survey

We also asked more than 650 Black Friday shoppers about their spending and shopping habits. Seventy-five percent of respondents said that they did shop either online or in-store on Black Friday. We asked consumers if they spent more or less on Black Friday this year, and about one-third of consumers said that they spent less.

We also asked consumers about the role of savings and coupons. Ninety-three percent of consumers said they were aware of specific Black Friday deals, and 71 percent of consumers said that they specifically checked for coupons on coupon sites, browser extensions, social media, e-mail or good old-fashioned newspapers and direct mail.

Our Data

The Retail Index tracks a typical basket of goods for retailers in apparel, electronics, housewares and other categories. It also tracks consumer same-day purchase intent for hundreds of online retailers. In addition, we surveyed 662 U.S. adults on their shopping during Black Friday. Our survey was conducted online on December 1st, 2020. Location data was supplied by X-Mode and is anonymized.