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Best Buy lost 74% of its Black Friday foot traffic boost from 2017-2018

2 weeks ago by Joshua Fruhlinger in Retail

Best Buy ($NYSE:BBY) is having a good day, having beat analysts' third-quarter earnings projections and raising its forecasts for 2020. The news sent shares up at least 8% and to year-long highs. It also reported that sales at stores "open at least 12 months" rose 1.7%, beating analyst expectations of 1.3%.

Best Buy CEO Corie Berry was also optimistic about the consumer-electronics retailer's 2019 holiday outlook, citing next-day delivery and order pickup service at Best Buy locations as well as 175 alternate locations in New York and Chicago including CVS and UPS Stores.

Curiously lacking in this holiday optimism, however, is in-store traffic and sales boosts. That's possibly because, according to data tracked via Facebook "Were Here" data, foot traffic boost from Black Friday over the past few years has been declining — drastically.

In 2017, Best Buy's Were Here count — the count of Facebook users posting status updates, selfies, and check-in — saw a large lift. A similar, if smalled, lift can be seen in 2018. But when comparing those numbers, we see that the Black Friday foot traffic boost for Best Buy from 2017 to 2018 declined by 74%.

In 2017, Best Buy picked up 31,400 Facebook Were Here's in November. In 2018, that number dropped to just 8,090 for the same time period. This year, just ahead of Black Friday, Best Buy's Were Here count has risen by just 2,910 since November 1.

Given Best Buy's focus on e-commerce sales, it's possible that this declining foot-traffic boost is of little to no concern to the retailer. As consumers increasingly turn to their computers and smartphones to get in on Black Friday deals, a smart digital strategy may be just what Best Buy needs to survive the retail apocalypse.

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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Joshua Fruhlinger

Joshua has been writing about technology, lifestyle, and business for over 20 years. He's one of the original writers and editors for Engadget, and still writes a...

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