Between the Omicron variant and increasing gas prices, the first quarter of 2022 included several factors that impacted consumer foot traffic to brick-and-mortar businesses. As shared in our February Foot Traffic Summary, the good news is that foot traffic continues to rise despite it all, and the Third Reemergence is said to be coming fast.
A recent GlobeSt article shares, “The Omicron variant dealt the retail and office sectors a major setback in their journeys toward a return to post-COVID normalcy.” Fortunately, Adentro’s National Customer Foot Traffic Report has shown significant progress from January through March of 2022. This monthly data report compares customer store visits to brick-and-mortar businesses from the current month to visits captured in January 2021. Let’s dive into the Q1 foot traffic analysis results.
Q1 Foot Traffic Year Over Year to Physical Stores
There’s a notable difference between Q1 in 2021 and 2022. You can see the setback that the Omicron variant caused in January of this year, but foot traffic to physical businesses recovered better than ever in February and March. In fact, in a span of just a few months, foot traffic rose by about 20%. In addition, brick-and-mortar businesses experienced nearly triple the amount of traffic in February 2022 compared to the previous year. As these trends continue, we expect overall foot traffic to be significantly higher throughout 2022.
We can see in the graph below that:
- Average foot traffic in January 2022 increased by 14.82% compared to January 2021.
- Average foot traffic in February 2022 increased by 27.44% compared to January 2021.
- Average foot traffic in March 2022 increased by 34.40% compared to January 2021.
There’s one additional thing to note from foot traffic levels in March 2022, and surprisingly it doesn’t have to do with COVID-19. When you look at the more detailed graph below, you’ll see that March has had some fluctuations up and down, likely tied to elevated gas prices that recently hit record highs.
When comparing Adentro’s foot traffic data to the gas prices throughout March, it’s easy to see the direct correlation. As average US gas prices quickly rose to $4.40 by March 14th, there was a drop in foot traffic.
Daniella Genovese, reporter at Fox Business says, “This marked the “most severe” decline in weekly retail foot traffic “that wasn’t directly tied to COVID waves or holiday calendar shifts” over the past year…”
In addition, St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th caused a fast, yet temporary, recovery in foot traffic levels as consumers went out to celebrate.
Q1 2022 Foot Traffic by Business Type
How is foot traffic looking for the food and beverage industry? Despite the rise in gas prices during March, foot traffic for bars, cafes, and restaurants in Q1 is still up from the previous year.
We can see below the rise in overall foot traffic levels for food & beverage establishments, promising a bit more normalcy and hopefully stability in 2022.
Cafes and Bakeries have been at the top, seeing almost double the amount of foot traffic that Bars and Restaurants have seen. As shared in our 2021 Brick-and-Mortar Business Insights Roundup, 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.
Foot Traffic Analysis Summary
- Despite Omicron and rising gas prices, foot traffic throughout Q1 of 2022 increased by about 20%.
- Brick-and-mortar establishments have experienced nearly triple the amount of foot traffic in February 2022 compared to February 2021.
- Cafes and Bakeries have continued to see the highest foot traffic throughout the pandemic.
Key Takeaways for Brick-and-Mortar Businesses
As foot traffic increases at a higher rate than last year, brick-and-mortar businesses should be gearing up to take advantage of this opportunity. In our recent article, 2022 Restaurant Trends and Top Strategies, Adentro CRO Hugh McGoran shared his suspicions that this year will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for restaurants.
“People are ready to shake off the Covid cobwebs, and they’re ready to go out and start dining again. How will restaurants grab these people’s attention?” McGoran explains, “It’s the work that you do now to capture those people, to build those relationships, to make sure they don’t just come once and not come back.”
To rise above the competition in 2022, there’s one particular game-changing strategy that physical businesses need to invest in: visit-based marketing. Visit-based marketing allows businesses to connect their digital marketing and advertising efforts with actual in-store outcomes. And as a result, they can build marketing campaigns that get real customers to walk through the door. In other words, visit-based marketing is marketing that can be measured by the actual guest visits driven to a physical location.
Click here to learn more about the benefits of visit-based marketing.
The National Customer Foot Traffic Report is the nation’s premier snapshot of physical store traffic. As we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever to monitor consumer foot traffic trends across the US. The data details the increase in customer visits to brick-and-mortar businesses across the US from January 2021 to current month and is provided by Adentro technology.