Visits to top retailers in the U.S. were on the rebound in the first quarter of 2021, according to visitation patterns tracked by location data company InMarket.
Following a period of limited store trips during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, virtually all retailers saw quarter-over-quarter improvements in trip frequency in the new year. The loyalty index (measured by the average number of repeat visits an individual shopper made to a store from January to March) went up across the board as restrictions began to ease.
While all channels benefitted from returning shopper, grocers enjoyed the largest jumps in loyalty, with Hannaford recording the most significant increase.
Dwell times (the average length of time shoppers stay while visiting store locations) were also up for most retailers. Yet the improvements were not as significant as those in trip frequency, indicating that while shoppers are returning to stores, they are still limiting the amount of time they spend browsing the aisles.
The retailers with the longest trip lengths on average remained unchanged from the prior quarter, even though leader Costco was one of only a handful of retailers whose dwell time dipped in the new year. More significant drops in dwell time were evident in the convenience channel, with 7-Eleven, Circle K and Speedway rounding out the short list of retailers at which shoppers shortened visits. The latter chain retained its spot at the bottom of the list with the shortest average trip length of any retailer measured.
The full report with data for more than 45 top U.S. retail chains is available to Path to Purchase Institute members through an exclusive partnership with InMarket, a leader in 360-degree consumer engagement and insights. Members also can analyze individual retailer snapshots tracked over time within the Market Position and Strategy Overview section of p2pi.org's Retailer Profiles.
Check back next quarter as we continue to track the InMarket data and dive deeper into the trends as they develop.