Traffic Stats Foretold Circuit City Bankruptcy

    January 19, 2009

Let’s acknowledge right now that there is a certain chestnut concerning hindsight and 20/20 vision.  That said, an analysis of traffic data is starting to make it look like Circuit City’s bankruptcy was, if not inevitable, at least not a completely random event.

Circuit City had proven to be quite a bit less popular with shoppers this holiday season than most.  Hitwise’s Heather Dougherty notes, "For the week of Thanksgiving, which is typically a peak traffic week, the market share of visits to had dropped 33% from the previous year within the Appliances & Electronics category."

Circuit City
 (Credit: Hitwise)

Perhaps worse still (in terms of speed), going from Thanksgiving to Black Friday to Cyber Monday, Circuit City managed to slip from being the fifth most visited site among the Retail 500 to seventh and then ninth.  Eep.

Then there’s the matter of what sort of customers were abandoning Circuit City.  Dougherty writes, "The biggest loss was affluent shoppers with an income over $150k where a share of 4% of total traffic represented by the group was lost and replaced by visitors with lower household incomes."

For the sake of the economy and however many employees, hopefully we won’t see these patterns getting repeated anywhere else in the near future.