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2024 Memorial Day Recap

by 
Lila Margalit
 on 
June 4, 2024
2024 Memorial Day Recap

With summer upon us, we dove into the data to explore Memorial Day foot traffic trends. How did people spend the long weekend? And how did major dining and retail categories fare on the holiday?

Key Takeaways

  • Friday May 24th, 2024 was gas stations’ busiest day of the year so far. And gas station foot traffic was up both compared to last year and to pre-COVID.
  • Museums were 1.6% busier this year on Memorial Day than they were in 2023 – and people spent significantly more time browsing the exhibits – or grabbing a bite to eat at the cafeteria. 
  • Full-service restaurants drew 41.9% more visits than on an average Monday – and 7.1% more visits than on Memorial Day last year. 
  • Retailers across categories continued to draw outsize crowds, with Memorial Day foot traffic on par with 2023 levels. Grocery stores saw a 9.3% YoY uptick in visits.

Road Tripping

Gas stations were bustling on Friday, May 24th, as people filled their tanks in anticipation of a long, travel or activity-filled weekend. Visits to gas stations were up 32.3% compared to an average day this year – and the highest they’ve been since January 1st, 2024.

Year over year (YoY), gas station foot traffic increased 1.5%. And compared to pre-COVID, too, gas station visits were up 1.8% –  showing that people are once again hitting the road, whether to go on weekend getaways or to visit nearby parks and attractions.  

Seeing the Sights

Indeed, Americans partake in many different activities on Memorial Day – from attending parades and memorial events to sight-seeing or enjoying the great outdoors. And visiting museums is a time-honored holiday tradition: On Monday, May 27th, museums nationwide drew a whopping 71.5% more visits than on an average Monday this year. 

YoY, Museums were 1.6% busier on May 27th than in 2023 – and museum-goers spent more time exploring the exhibits (who says attention spans are decreasing?), browsing the gift shop, or fueling up at the cafeteria. 

Enjoying A Nice Meal

Memorial Day weekend is a prime time for picnics and barbecues. But for many Americans, it’s also an opportunity to enjoy a nice meal at a restaurant with friends and family. 

Like on Mother’s Day, full-service restaurants get a much bigger Memorial Day visit boost than either fast-casual eateries or fast-food (QSR) joints. But all three dining segments enjoyed a significant YoY holiday visit increase this year – proving that despite still-high food-away-from-home prices, people are finding room in their budgets to treat themselves on their day off.

Final Thoughts

People were on the move this year on Memorial Day – fueling up their cars, and enjoying museums, restaurants, and retail sales. What does the rest of the summer hold in store for American consumers?

Follow Placer.ai’s data driven analyses to find out. 

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