Satellites Used to Track Black Friday Mall Traffic

Those satellites in space don't just take spy pictures. On this Black Friday 2010, they are actually taking pictures of you, and your rush to Black Friday deals.

The research is being done to see what consumer demand this year means for retail stocks. The trend, so far, has been favorable.

The companies involved in this are Remote Sensing Metrics and Digital Globe. Remote Sensing Metrics is a Chicago-based consulting firm that analyzes the satellite imagery. In turn, it purchases those images from Colorado-based company Digital Globe, which operates its own satellites.

Tom Diamond, CEO of Remote Sensing Metrics said
“2010 is proving to be a much better year in terms of traffic. Beginning in September 2010, late back-to-school shopping discounts boosted traffic as people shopped closer to the event.”
Remote Sensing Metrics told CNBC that the average shopping mall was 31.6 percent full in 2008 during the pre-Black Friday timeframe. However, in 2009, with the Great Recession in full force, that figure dropped to 31.0 percent full. This year, the pre-Black Friday run-up saw a 35 percent shopping mall fill rate.

This, quite naturally, bodes well for retailers this year. In fact, the satellite analysts believe that based on that pre-Black Friday data, the shopping season will prove to be a net positive over 2009, and even 2008, before the full Great Recession storm hit. Watch a CNBC report below.