Google published a super interesting infographic, identifying peak traffic time at stores on Black Friday.
Interestingly, the graph (comparing different types of retailers: electronics stores, cellphone stores, superstores/discount, department stores, shopping malls) shows identical traffic on Black Friday, with a bell curve climbing sharply as stores opened at 10 a.m., peaking between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. and then dropping gradually from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. It was a little surprising in that the highest traffic was not due to door-crashing sales right when the stores open, as would be suggested by the tradition of people camping out outside of stores the night before.
There was some variation between retailer types, for store traffic the night before Black Friday though: Electronics stores had a large curve spiking at 6 p.m. and dropping gradually from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. Cellphone stores saw little to no traffic, likely because most of them do not offer late-night shopping that day. Department stores had a dramatic spike at 7 p.m. and crashed hard immediately afterward. Meanwhile, superstores/discount retailers followed shopping malls with a modest peak at 8 p.m. and a slow drop all the way to 2 a.m.
On Monday, we blogged about how Black Friday isn't actually the biggest spending surge before Christmas -- the last few days before Christmas are.
Google's stats (above) confirm that as well, with exceptions being electronics stores and cellphone stores. All other types of retailers see higher traffic either on the last Saturday before Christmas or on Christmas Eve.