We visited the same Walmart on Black Friday in 2021 and 2022 — and the consistent emptiness shows the waning importance of the shopping holiday

We visited the same Walmart on Black Friday in 2021 and 2022 — and the consistent emptiness shows the waning importance of the shopping holiday
Walmart Black Friday 2022
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider
  • 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.

Walmart Black Friday 2022
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When I arrived just after 9 a.m. on Black Friday, the Walmart parking lot looked quite bare.

Walmart Black Friday 2022
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Walking inside, I didn't see very many shoppers, but there was security near the door.

Walmart Black Friday 2022
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

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

Walmart Black Friday 2022
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

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

Walmart Black Friday 2022
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

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

Walmart Black Friday 2022
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

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

Walmart Black Friday 2022
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

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

Walmart Black Friday 2022
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

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

Walmart Black Friday 2022
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

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

Walmart Black Friday 2022
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

The toy shelves were well-stocked.

Walmart Black Friday 2022
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.

Walmart Black Friday 2022
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

The busiest area by far was the electronics section.

Walmart Black Friday 2022
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

There were some deals on TVs and video games.

Walmart Black Friday 2022
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

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

Walmart Black Friday 2022
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

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

Walmart Black Friday 2022
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

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.

Walmart Black Friday 2022
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

I also went to this same location on Black Friday in 2021.

Walmart Black Friday
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

The store was quite empty for a major shopping holiday.

Walmart Black Friday
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

Workers and security staff seemed to almost outnumber shoppers.

Walmart Black Friday
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

It was easy to walk down some of the less popular aisles and not see anyone else.

Walmart Black Friday
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

Customers that did show up seemed to mostly congregate around electronics, which are some of the most expensive items that Walmart sells.

Walmart TVs black friday
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

Some video games were heavily discounted, and people were picking through what was left.

Walmart Black Friday games
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A display of games for the Nintendo Switch seemed to be especially popular, with few games left.

Walmart Black Friday games
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

A display of discounted Ring Lights was disheveled, with many of the remaining boxes opened.

Walmart Black Friday ring light
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The other highly trafficked section of the store was some of the toy aisles.

Walmart Black Friday
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

Some shelves of Legos and Matchbox cars were totally wiped out.

Walmart Black Friday toys
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

Other toys didn't seem particularly popular, though.

Walmart Black Friday
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

Walmart was completely stocked with air fryers, one of the biggest Black Friday items of 2021.

Walmart Black Friday air fryers
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Other kitchen appliances, including Instant Pots and mini waffle makers, were also in stock.

Walmart Black Friday waffle makers
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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.

Walmart Black Friday
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

Even with about half of the registers closed, lines never got more than a few carts deep.

Walmart Black Friday checkout lines
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After visiting two years in a row, I think Black Friday's importance for Walmart is waning.

Walmart Black Friday video games
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

Even though the location I visited was slightly busier in 2022 than the previous year, it still felt empty compared to a regular weekend.

Walmart Black Friday 2022
Mary Meisenzahl/Insider

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com.

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