Adentro technology is integrated with thousands of brick-and-mortar businesses across America, allowing us unique insight into consumer behavior and patterns across business categories. To cap off 2021, we rounded up a few brick-and-mortar business insights to showcase the consumer habits we observed this year and provide industry benchmarks you can leverage moving forward.
In this Brick-and-Mortar Business Insights post, we’ll cover:
- How consumers responded to email marketing in 2021
- The fluctuation of foot traffic to physical stores in 2021
- Consumer behavior across different industries in 2021
Let’s start by looking at how receptive consumers were to email marketing efforts last year.
Highest Client Email Open Rate by Industry
With the pandemic’s effect on foot traffic, many food & beverage establishments turned to email marketing to increase business and notify customers of operational changes like closures, hours of operation changes, etc.
Out of all the business categories in Adentro’s client base, Nightlife & Bar establishments saw the highest email open rates in 2021, with Services and Restaurants falling close behind. While there are likely multiple contributing factors to these results, one of which may be that Nightlife & Bar establishments are more likely to promote time-sensitive content like specials and events.
Average Monthly Customer Foot Traffic to Physical Stores in 2021
Now, let’s take a look into 2021 customer foot traffic. Adentro’s National Customer Foot Traffic Report is a premier snapshot of physical store traffic. Based on this report, it is evident that earlier this year, consumers were optimistic and eager to get back to their regular routines. At its peak, foot traffic increased by 43.87% in July. But unfortunately the optimism was short-lived.
The large decline in foot traffic between July and August is largely reflective of growing consumer concern for the COVID-19 Delta variant. Similarly, the rise of Omicron throughout November and December also had an impact on consumer activity. As the US set a new record for daily COVID cases as Omicron spread during the Holiday season, the data indicates that this increase in cases resulted in a significant drop in foot traffic.
When looking at foot traffic levels on an industry basis, the Coffee, Tea & Bakeries category saw the most monthly customer foot traffic growth in 2021. We suspect that many consumers felt safe enough grabbing a to-go coffee since the time spent inside the establishment is limited. It was likely also a way for consumers to reclaim a little bit of normalcy amidst another disruptive year.
Beyond foot traffic data, Adentro also captured customer behavior like dwell time and visit frequency across industries throughout 2021. Let’s take a look at the results.
2021 Dwell Time by Industry
It comes as no surprise that Recreation establishments, such as bowling alleys and golf clubs, saw the highest dwell time in 2021 with an overall average of almost 90 minutes. These establishments are designed to keep people engaged and entertained for a considerable amount of time. What is interesting, however, is finding Shopping on the other end of this scale.
Many consumers in 2021 approached shopping with a transactional “get in and get out” mentality and it will be interesting to see how the pandemic impacts in-store browsing habits overall. The former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tom Frieden, says, “Shopping for five minutes in the grocery store is a lot better — six times better — than shopping for 30 minutes.” Since the odds of becoming infected rise the longer you’re exposed, consumers likely adjusted to shopping in shorter periods.
2021 Visit Frequency by Industry
Though dwell time for the Shopping category was lower than other industries, it did see the highest visit frequency. This makes sense for a few reasons. In this case, Shopping includes essential items like groceries, which is an activity that even the most risk averse consumers likely engaged in. Additionally, the implementation of in-store and curbside pick-up also offered a sense of security, allowing them to grab what they need and move on with very little dwell time.
On the other end, Restaurants landed at the bottom for visit frequency in 2021. Despite some promising foot traffic growth in the early summer, rising consumer concerns about COVID-19 variants led to many consumers forgoing meals out for the remainder of the year, and opting for takeout and delivery instead.
All that said, the good news is that consumers are really looking forward to visiting restaurants again and believe they will be doing so at a normal frequency rate in the next six months.
As we continue to monitor consumer behavior, we are hopeful that 2022 will bring positive momentum for brick-and-mortar establishments. To stay up to date on our brick-and-mortar business insights, visit the National Customer Foot Traffic Report, which is updated monthly.
Stand Out from Competitors with Visit-Based Marketing
As foot traffic increases, it will be imperative for brick-and-mortar businesses to stand out from the competition through effective marketing and the ability to attribute performance to store traffic, otherwise known as visit-based marketing.
Our goal at Adentro is to provide businesses with the marketing technology they need to better understand their customers both in-store and online to be more effective at growing their business.
Why Brick–and-Mortar Businesses Choose Adentro:
- Seamlessly collect customer data with your guest WiFi network
- Build your CRM and understand your in-store shoppers like never before
- Measure marketing performance based on in-store Walk-Throughs