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.
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 …
… and just a handful of people lingering in the children’s toys and holiday sections.
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.
But when we arrived just after 9 a.m. on Black Friday, the Walmart parking lot in New York looked quite bare.
Walking inside, we didn’t see very many shoppers, but there was security near the door.
We skipped past the main grocery area, which was empty and didn’t seem to have any special holiday deals.
At first glance the clothing sections also seemed pretty empty of customers.
We finally started seeing other shoppers around the children’s clothing.
Bins in the centers of aisles seemed to have some of the most popular deals, advertising “while supplies last.”
These were mainly less expensive items than the typical Black Friday electronics deals.
Many of the deals were on bedding, pillows, and other home decor.
While home goods sales didn’t seem to have many takers, the toys section was much busier.
The toy shelves were well-stocked.
The aisles of dolls and stuffed animals weren’t especially busy, but they were definitely one of the most trafficked areas of the store.
The busiest area by far was the electronics section.
There were some deals on TVs and video games.
Customers searched through piles of discounted games and DVDs while workers restocked.
Headphones and phone accessories also seemed popular based on the messy displays.
Aside from toys and electronics, I wouldn’t have known there was any kind of holiday or promotion going on.
Meanwhile, the Walmart in Irvine, California looked about the same.
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.
But about 15 to 20 rows back, plenty of parking spaces were still open.
Inside, there were no angry shoppers fighting over the last gaming system or discounted clothes.
Instead, the store was surprisingly peaceful.
The grocery section was almost barren, occupied primarily by employees restocking inventory.
And only a few shoppers trickled throughout the clothing and home goods sections.
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.
Several shoppers were interested in the bins’ deals on bedding sets …
… with one person scooping up the majority of discounted television wall mounts.
But other than this one customer, most of the shopping carts around the Irvine, California Walmart weren’t spilling over with discounted products.
Beside the bins, the majority of customers flocked to the holiday decor and rear electronics sections …
… although these parts of the store were still far from crowded as well.
Overall, it looked like any typical day at Walmart — not too busy yet not completely empty.
Between the retail giant’s California and New York stores, it seems the era of Walmart’s Black Friday shopping extravaganza is now over.
The sight of frantic shoppers, stuffed shopping carts, and packed aisles are now a thing of the past.
Instead, it’s now less of a safety hazard …
… and more of a peaceful affair with only a handful of shoppers perusing the electronics, toys, and holiday decor deals.
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