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Shopper Frenzy to Finish Off the Holiday Season, According to Euclid's December U.S. Retail Benchmarks

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 01/03/14 -- Euclid, the leader of in-store retail analytics, measured data on nearly 25 million domestic shopping sessions during December, revealing that shopper traffic and window conversion improved as heavy promotions kept holiday shoppers coming to the mall and consumer confidence rebounded to a five month high. Average visit durations remained shorter than last year for yet another month, but engagement appeared to turn the corner from recent lows as shoppers were determined to complete holiday purchases in the shortened shopping window.

Euclid Traffic Index
Traffic in December increased 4.0% compared to the previous month and 8.6% compared to the same month last year. Shopping visits continued to grow in December despite headwinds from weather in certain parts of the country, driven by a heavily promotional season. Despite a sluggish start to the month, shoppers left a lot of holiday shopping for the week before Christmas, and traffic picked up significantly. Traffic remained robust after holiday, as shoppers looked to take advantage of even more attractive inventory-driven discounts.

Window Conversion
Window conversion in December, defined as the number of shoppers who enter a store as a percentage of the total foot traffic, rose to 8.9% from 7.5% last year and 8.8% in November 2013. Value-conscious shoppers were deliberate with their trips to brick-and-mortar locations and continued aggressive promotions from retailers successfully won them over. As a result, window conversion reached another high for the year.

Bounce Rate
The percentage of shoppers who entered a store but left within five minutes ("bounce rate") was 10.3% in December 2013, up from 9.9% in December 2012, but an improvement from the year's high of 11.7% last month. Shoppers began to show signs of increased interest in browsing through merchandise with the plethora of store-wide deals at brick-and-mortar retailers, especially during the days after Christmas.

Visit Duration
Shopping session duration, defined as the mean time from store entry to store exit, was 22.2 minutes in December, a decline from 22.5 minutes last year, but the longest average duration measured since August. Depressed average shopping durations were seen during the first half of the month, but this trend reversed itself as shoppers crammed a significant portion of their holiday shopping into the week before Christmas and became much more intent upon reaching a purchase.

Active Repeat Customers
In December, active repeat customers, defined as individuals returning to a store location more than once in 30 days, totaled 12.4% of total visits measured, up 50 basis points from the previous month, but slightly less than the 12.9% seen last December. Consumers were forced to make more trips to the store this month to accomplish their shopping in a shortened holiday period, resulting in the highest active repeat ratio since June 2013.

Best and Worst Days of Month
The best day of the month was Super Saturday, with the month's highest traffic and exceptional average duration as shoppers were very engaged in-store and intent on finishing holiday shopping. The worst day of the month was Monday the 2nd, which suffered from the lull following Black Friday. The day saw low window conversion and very high bounce rates as shoppers were waiting for new deals to materialize closer to Christmas.

2013 Holiday Season Recap
We are maintaining our expectation that final holiday sales will increase compared to last year. Overall traffic was more robust than expected, rising year-over-year despite the shortened holiday period as attractive in-store deals drew shoppers out of their homes. However, traffic was very volatile week to week, driven by inconsistent weather and periods of particularly heavy promotions. Window conversion increased compared to last year as each trip to the mall became more focused. As expected, bounce rates continued to rise and overall visit durations shrank as shoppers were pressed for time and had less interest in extensive browsing. A decline in active repeat customers compared to last year was also seen as a result of the fewer trips to store locations. We believe that in the face of challenges including unfavorable weather and a shortened shopping season, the retailers that fared the best this holiday were the ones that invested in their omni-channel capabilities to win the competition for consumers' attention.

About Euclid
Euclid provides answers and insights to brick-and-mortar retailers in the same way that web analytics services do for e-commerce. Euclid helps retailers quantify offline impact of marketing, optimize store performance, and understand customer behavior. As of December 2013, Euclid's network has grown to capture six billion measurements per day, analyzing 250 million potential shopping sessions per year across thousands of locations. Only anonymous, non-personal data is ever collected and only aggregated trend data is used for analysis. Visit http://euclidanalytics.com/ for more information.

If you have any questions about these data, or if you would like to receive Euclid's U.S. Retail Benchmarks, please email [email protected].

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