We visited two Walmart stores on opposite sides of the country on Black Friday and were shocked by how few shoppers we saw




Walmart on Black Friday
Walmart on Black Friday  
  • We visited two Walmart stores in New York and California on the morning of Black Friday and found relatively empty aisles.

  • In New York, customers shopped electronics and toys while the rest of the store was quiet.

  • In California, most of the customers also stuck to the electronics and holiday sections.

We went to two Walmart locations on opposite sides of the country to see what Black Friday shopping looked like this year.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider  

To our surprise, both the Walmart in Rochester, New York and Irvine, California saw similarly low foot traffic with most shoppers flocking to the electronics ...

Walmart on Black Friday
Walmart on Black Friday  

... and just a handful of people lingering in the children's toys and holiday sections.

Brittany Chang/Insider
Brittany Chang/Insider  

Walmart saw supply chain improvements this year after low inventory over the 2021 holiday season, Walmart US CEO John Furner said in a November earnings call.

FILE PHOTO: Walmart signs are displayed inside a Walmart store in Mexico CityReuters
FILE PHOTO: Walmart signs are displayed inside a Walmart store in Mexico CityReuters  

But when we arrived just after 9 a.m. on Black Friday, the Walmart parking lot in New York looked quite bare.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider  

Walking inside, we didn't see very many shoppers, but there was security near the door.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider  

We skipped past the main grocery area, which was empty and didn't seem to have any special holiday deals.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider  

At first glance the clothing sections also seemed pretty empty of customers.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider  

We finally started seeing other shoppers around the children's clothing.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider  

Bins in the centers of aisles seemed to have some of the most popular deals, advertising "while supplies last."

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider  

These were mainly less expensive items than the typical Black Friday electronics deals.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider  

Many of the deals were on bedding, pillows, and other home decor.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider  

While home goods sales didn't seem to have many takers, the toys section was much busier.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider  

The toy shelves were well-stocked.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider  

The aisles of dolls and stuffed animals weren't especially busy, but they were definitely one of the most trafficked areas of the store.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider  

The busiest area by far was the electronics section.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider  

There were some deals on TVs and video games.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider  

Customers searched through piles of discounted games and DVDs while workers restocked.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider  

Headphones and phone accessories also seemed popular based on the messy displays.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider  

Aside from toys and electronics, I wouldn't have known there was any kind of holiday or promotion going on.

Mary Meisenzahl/Insider
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider  

Meanwhile, the Walmart in Irvine, California looked about the same.

Brittany Chang/Insider
Brittany Chang/Insider  

At around 7:30 a.m. - about 1.5 hours after opening - early risers had taken all the parking spots near this Walmart's immediate vicinity.

Brittany Chang/Insider
Brittany Chang/Insider  

But about 15 to 20 rows back, plenty of parking spaces were still open.

Walmart
Walmart  

Inside, there were no angry shoppers fighting over the last gaming system or discounted clothes.

Brittany Chang/Insider
Brittany Chang/Insider  

Instead, the store was surprisingly peaceful.

Brittany Chang/Insider
Brittany Chang/Insider  

The grocery section was almost barren, occupied primarily by employees restocking inventory.

Brittany Chang/Insider
Brittany Chang/Insider  

And only a few shoppers trickled throughout the clothing and home goods sections.

Brittany Chang/Insider
Brittany Chang/Insider  

Like the Walmart in New York, the bins centered along the wide aisles held many of the prominently promoted Black Friday deals on products like bedding, toys, and home goods.

Brittany Chang/Insider
Brittany Chang/Insider  

Several shoppers were interested in the bins' deals on bedding sets ...

Brittany Chang/Insider
Brittany Chang/Insider  

… with one person scooping up the majority of discounted television wall mounts.

Brittany Chang/Insider
Brittany Chang/Insider  

But other than this one customer, most of the shopping carts around the Irvine, California Walmart weren't spilling over with discounted products.

Brittany Chang/Insider
Brittany Chang/Insider  

Beside the bins, the majority of customers flocked to the holiday decor and rear electronics sections …

Brittany Chang/Insider
Brittany Chang/Insider  

… although these parts of the store were still far from crowded as well.

Brittany Chang/Insider
Brittany Chang/Insider  

Overall, it looked like any typical day at Walmart - not too busy yet not completely empty.

Brittany Chang/Insider
Brittany Chang/Insider  

Between the retail giant's California and New York stores, it seems the era of Walmart's Black Friday shopping extravaganza is now over.

Brittany Chang/Insider
Brittany Chang/Insider  

The sight of frantic shoppers, stuffed shopping carts, and packed aisles are now a thing of the past.

Brittany Chang/Insider
Brittany Chang/Insider  

Instead, it's now less of a safety hazard ...

Brittany Chang/Insider
Brittany Chang/Insider  

... and more of a peaceful affair with only a handful of shoppers perusing the electronics, toys, and holiday decor deals.

Brittany Chang/Insider
Brittany Chang/Insider  
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