If you're looking for a less stressful in-store experience this holiday season, you may want to brush up your shopping schedule.
According to new research by Foursquare, different days of the week are more popular than others for retailers, meaning there are slow days that consumers can take advantage of in order to accomplish tons of shopping in minimal amount of time.
Now, to an extent, this seems obvious. For instance, surely malls are more hectic on a weekend afternoon than on weekday mornings; we don't need a report to tell us that!
But Foursquare's research, which analyzed visit data from Foursquare City Guide and Foursquare Swarm (including active check-ins and passive visits) from November 1 to December 31, 2015 digs a few layers deeper to reveal the optimal times to shop for different types of products.
Monday, Thursday, and Friday are Low-Traffic Days
Here are some of Foursquare's key findings according to the foot traffic it analyzed:
- Monday around noon is the best time to buy cosmetics, while Monday evening is the best time to go in-store to purchase clothing, jewelry, candy, and liquor.
- Thursday is the quietest day at bookstores, as well as the best day to purchase beer and to go to the hardware store.
- On Friday, visit big box retailers during the day, and toy stores in the evening. Also, get your weekly grocery shopping out of the way; Friday night is when grocery stores are most empty.
- Sunday can also be a pretty chill day to shop — if you're checking out department stores and arts and crafts stores. On Sunday morning, consider the discount stores, and in the evening hit up the electronics stores.
Sarah Spagnolo, editor-at-large at Foursquare said that the worst times to shop for just about anything (if looking to avoid a crowd) is Saturday morning and Saturday afternoon.
"It was pretty surprising to see that different retail categories have very specific windows of time when they see fewer visits, and these windows are spread through the week," said Spagnolo. "It's not as though we found that Monday morning was the best for everything — but it is the right time to go to Sephora."
Why Those Days In Particular?
Why is say, Monday, the best day for quick make-up shopping, and Thursday the best for getting in and out of the hardware store in a cinch?
The research doesn't provide insights, only sheer data, but some of these trends make sense when you think about them.
"If we had to interpret, we'd guess that hardware stores are likely busy at the beginning of the week as construction companies, designers, and the like need to shop for supplies," said Spagnolo. "Weekends are also busy as people come in for home improvement projects. But Thursday morning? Clearly that's the sweet spot for finding a quiet store and staffers eager to help. You can go through this thought process for almost every category."
Best Time for Deals Is Another Story
But what are the best times to find the best price?
Benjamin Glaser, features editor with DealNews says that while Monday, Thursday, and Friday may be the best days and times to shop in terms of crowds, they may not host the best deals.
"Mondays and weekend nights are the least crowded time to shop in-store; however, that doesn't mean they are the best time; many shoppers are happy to brave the crowds if it means finding better prices."
Fortunately some of the best days for avoiding crowds are also the best times to score a coupon.
"Many stores release their new coupons on Sunday night and Monday, perhaps to encourage shoppers during slow traffic times," said Glaser.
"Weekends during the day are busy for shopping, and stores might close early on Sunday; but any that are open late will probably be empty as folks get home for the Walking Dead and prepare for the week ahead. Similarly, if you're not too tired after work to go shopping on Monday, you'll have the store to yourself and plenty of coupons that won't expire for days."