Oh, The Places We’ll Go: Consumer Trends to Expect in Q2

MSD 1072 Locology Article

Now that warmer months are on the way, where will consumers spring to in Quarter 2? Over the last few years, the global pandemic has brought about many unforeseen shifts in our daily lives. By looking at data trends – particularly location data trends – we can form a deeper understanding of what consumer needs and behaviors will look like in 2022. At the beginning of the pandemic, Foursquare—the leading independent location-based platform—began using indexed foot traffic to gain perspective on consumer trends and patterns. Looking back at Foursquare’s insights from Q2 of 2021—with a special focus on holiday weekends such as Easter, Mother’s Day, and Memorial Day—we can better predict which trends will reprise themselves this year.

1. We want to hit the road. Travel businesses should prepare for folks to be on the move during Q2. From road trips to redeyes, many people will likely travel around Q2 holidays, taking to both the skies and the highways. Last Easter we saw a 12% increase in airport services, as well as a 6% increase in tourist info centers; Mother’s Day marked an increase in overall travel, with a 7% increase in airport travel alone.”By Memorial Day, most travelers opted to escape by car, with airport travel down by 5%. RV parks saw a 28% increase in visitation during the early summer, while rest areas were 17% more crowded. As these long-awaited long weekends fast approach, businesses should plan for this surge in travel plans accordingly.

2. We want fresh air. While mask mandates persist, people are continuing to spend more time outside. Consumers are more likely to spend money on outdoor activities during long holidays weekends, hitting the trails and the stands on sunny weekends. Judging from the uptick in state park and stadium traffic in Q2 of 2021, businesses should prepare for a higher demand for things like stadium snacks and trail-mix, as well as essentials like sunscreen and bug spray. By last Mother’s Day, traffic to campgrounds increased by 36%, and national parks saw a 38% spike. As temperatures rise, some of the hottest businesses are likely to be theme and water parks, mini-golf courses, and zoos. Ahead of Memorial Day, food stores should keep shelves fully stocked, as shopping trends point toward a demand for fire pits and BBQ sauce: in 2021, butchers and grocery stores saw a 7% increase in sales. With the rise of omicron, we can expect consumers to keep avoiding crowds and closed-in spaces, thus spending more time in nature and more money on outdoor leisure and entertainment.

3. We are returning to the silver screen. When consumers do decide to come back inside, many will be heading to the cinema. Location data forecasts a cinematic revival, with movie theaters likely experiencing a comeback during holiday weekends in 2022. Foot traffic to cinemas is already on the rebound and is predicted to increase in Q2. Easter of 2021 saw a 7% uptick in ticket sales, with AMC Theaters alone recording a 6% increase in business. Last Memorial Day saw a 57% increase in moviegoers, with Regal Cinemas reaching a whopping 102% increase (AMC followed closely behind at 90%, above Cinemark at 61%). With summer blockbusters on the horizon, we can expect packed showings and plenty of popcorn.

4. We want the real deal. Given the current retail climate, smart shoppers are forced to get smarter. Affordable grocery retailers and other discount stores should expect high foot traffic around Q2 holidays: during Easter weekend of 2021, discount stores such as Family Dollar and Dollar General saw a 4% increase in shoppers likely stocking up on hosting supplies for family gatherings. Likewise, cost-conscious customers flocked to stores like Stater Bros. (13% increase), Winn-Dixie (11%), Food 4 Less (10%), Krogers (7%), and ShopRite (3%). Mothers Day 2022 saw a similar trend, with shoppers searching for affordable gifts at off-price retailers such as T.J. Maxx (12% increase), Marshalls (8%), Ross Dress For Less (6%), and Burlington (5%). Lastly, Memorial Day sales were met by the masses, with outlet malls seeing a 19% increase in foot traffic, along with shoe stores (9%), outdoor supply stores (9%), and discount clothing stores (6%). For many 2022 shoppers looking for everyday essentials, value is top of mind more than ever. Location data verifies that this trend is likely to be exacerbated by supply chain disruption issues and rising inflation rates, and businesses should be prepared for customers to be checking price tags carefully and opting for discounts wherever they can.

Despite ongoing pandemic concerns and supply chain uncertainty, some things remain unchanged: April showers bring May flowers, and with the turn of the season comes new consumer trends. Don’t let your customers be fair-weather: with location data, it’s easier for businesses to be adaptive to ever-changing customer needs. Staying on top of these data insights can help consumers avoid crowds, and can help businesses anticipate them.

This article originally appeared in Localogy.