The upcoming earnings reports from retail giants Target Corp., Walmart Inc., and Costco Wholesale Corp. are anticipated to shed light on the current consumer spending landscape. Analytical company Placer.ai has conducted an analysis of foot traffic to these retailers, offering valuable insights.
According to Placer.ai’s findings, during the first half of 2023, Costco and Target outperformed the wider retail sector in terms of year-over-year growth. Costco experienced a 1.2% increase in visits, while Target saw a rise of 3.1%. In contrast, the overall retail sector witnessed a slight dip of 0.3% in foot traffic.
A Glimpse into the Bright Spots of the Retail Sector
Target is scheduled to release its second-quarter results on Aug. 16, with Walmart following suit on Aug. 17. The fiscal fourth-quarter results for Costco will be disclosed after the market closes on Sept. 26.
During the first half of 2022, Walmart observed a 0.9% decline in foot traffic compared to the previous year, potentially influenced by inflationary factors. However, recent weekly visit data indicates that a rebound is underway. From June 19th to July 24th, Walmart recorded year-over-year weekly visit growth, indicating a positive trajectory for the second half of the year. Despite Costco and Target registering greater year-over-year growth in the first half of 2023, Walmart maintains its position as the largest retailer in the United States and remains unrivaled in the superstore sector. In fact, Walmart received the majority of superstore visits during the first half of 2023.
This analysis serves as a valuable tool for understanding consumer behavior and provides important insights into the prospects of these retail giants.
Distinctive Shopping Patterns of Walmart, Costco, and Target
According to Placer.ai, the three major retail chains – Walmart, Costco, and Target – have similar median household incomes (HHIs) in their potential markets. However, in terms of captured market data, which is weighted based on actual visitors to each chain, it is evident that these brands attract different types of visitors.
Costco, with its upfront membership cost and focus on bulk shopping, tends to attract households with the highest median HHI. This can be attributed to the need for storage space for their bulky purchases. On the other hand, Walmart’s captured market includes households with the lowest median household income, likely due to their emphasis on providing low prices. Sitting between the two is Target.
Placer.ai also sheds light on the rise of “mission-driven shopping” during the COVID-19 pandemic. Shoppers were aiming to make fewer store visits, resulting in a shift in consumer behavior. This trend has continued into the first half of 2023 as shoppers seek to cut down on gas costs and be more intentional with their spending.
In light of these changes, visit frequency has declined across all three chains while the median dwell time has increased. Notably, Costco, known for its bulk shopping offerings, experienced the largest decrease in year-over-year visit frequency, dropping by 4.1%. However, it also recorded the highest increase in median dwell time, which rose by 9.1%, indicating that customers are spending more time exploring its extensive product range.
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