I went to the same Rochester, New York Walmart on Black Friday two years in a row.
Though 2022 was slightly busier, both visits were quieter than the massive Black Friday sales of earlier years.
Toys and electronics seemed to be the two bright spots for Walmart each year.
I went to Walmart in Rochester, New York on Black Friday 2022 to see how crowds compared to the same store last year.
When I arrived just after 9 a.m. on Black Friday, the Walmart parking lot looked quite bare.
Walking inside, I didn't see very many shoppers, but there was security near the door.
I 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.
I 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, because it wasn't very busy.
I also went to this same location on Black Friday in 2021.
The store was quite empty for a major shopping holiday.
Workers and security staff seemed to almost outnumber shoppers.
It was easy to walk down some of the less popular aisles and not see anyone else.
Customers that did show up seemed to mostly congregate around electronics, which are some of the most expensive items that Walmart sells.
Some video games were heavily discounted, and people were picking through what was left.
A display of games for the Nintendo Switch seemed to be especially popular, with few games left.
A display of discounted Ring Lights was disheveled, with many of the remaining boxes opened.
The other highly trafficked section of the store was some of the toy aisles.
Some shelves of Legos and Matchbox cars were totally wiped out.
Other toys didn't seem particularly popular, though.
Walmart was completely stocked with air fryers, one of the biggest Black Friday items of 2021.
Other kitchen appliances, including Instant Pots and mini waffle makers, were also in stock.
Even in the most crowded areas of the store, there was nothing like the chaos I've read about from other Black Fridays in the past.
Even with about half of the registers closed, lines never got more than a few carts deep.
After visiting two years in a row, I think Black Friday's importance for Walmart is waning.
Even though the location I visited was slightly busier in 2022 than the previous year, it still felt empty compared to a regular weekend.
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