Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a Placer.ai account? Log In

How Are Target, Walmart, and Wholesale Clubs Faring in 2023?

by 
Shira Petrack
 on 
February 15, 2023
How Are Target, Walmart, and Wholesale Clubs Faring in 2023?

With another holiday season behind us, and as high prices threaten to continue holding retail back in 2023, we dove into the foot traffic and location intelligence data to understand what lies ahead for Target, Walmart, and other leading superstores. 

Target, Walmart, and Wholesale Clubs In the Face of Economic Uncertainty 

Superstores such as Target and Walmart were one of the pandemic’s major retail beneficiaries. The category’s strength continued in the first half of 2022 as some shoppers traded down in the hopes of stretching their budgets in the face of ongoing inflation. And although the continued economic headwinds finally did reach superstore traffic in the second half of the year, many of the leading brands still managed to hold on to their pandemic gains and stay ahead of 2019 visit levels. But what does the new year have in store for the sector?

Difficult Comparison to 2021

The strength of 2021 made for difficult year-over-year (YoY) comparisons, as pent-up demand, accumulated savings, and an early start drove an unusually robust season in 2021, so assessing the success of 2022’s holiday season is challenging. Visits to Target, Walmart, Costco, BJ’s Wholesale, and Sam’s Club were down in October and November 2022 relative to 2021, likely a result of comparisons to last year’s extended season. But by December 2022, the YoY visit gaps had narrowed significantly with all brands seeing traffic more or less on par with 2021 numbers – indicating that superstores still play a major role in consumers' holiday shopping and party prepping routine. 

Still, traffic data does seem to indicate that the economic difficulties of 2022 have begun to take a toll on consumers – January visits were down for almost all superstore chains analyzed, with the exception of Target that seems to be continuing its winning streak in the new year. 

Year-over-Three-Year Visits Highlight Superstores’ Strength 

Given the unusual retail nature of 2021, comparing 2022’s holiday season performance to pre-pandemic traffic levels can offer a better sense of the sector’s improved position since the pandemic. While November 2022 visits were slightly lower than November 2019 visits – likely due to the reduced importance of Black Friday, year-over-three-year (Yo3Y) visits in October and December 2022 were up almost across the board. 

Target and Sam’s Club (owned by Walmart) posted the biggest Yo3Y gains – which may also explain Sam’s Club recent expansion announcement. Walmart saw the biggest visit slump – but location intelligence shows that the current traffic dip is likely just a temporary setback for America’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer

Inflation Likely Hitting Walmart’s Consumers the Hardest 

Walmart’s Yo3Y visit gaps may be reflecting the impact of the ongoing inflation on the superstore giant’s consumer base. An analysis of the median household income (HHI) for residents of the five superstore chains’ True Trade Areas (TTAs) reveals that Walmart’s trade areas tend to house the low-income consumers – with a median HHI of $54.8K. In contrast, BJ’s and Target serve TTAs where residents have a median HHI of $62.7K and $63.7K, respectively, while the median HHI in Costco’s TTAs stands at $70.3K. 

But if the combination of inflation and a lower-income visitor base driving visits to Walmart down, why is Sam’s Club (a subsidiary of Walmart), which also serves a similar consumer base, doing so well? 

The answer may lie in the competitive landscape of the different types of superstores. With the massive expansion of the discount and dollar store category in recent years, the value-priced superstore sector has gotten increasingly crowded, and cash-strapped consumers may be trading down from Walmart in favor of dollar stores until prices begin normalizing. But the wholesale space is much less competitive, and for those looking for a deal in the wholesale membership category, Sam’s Club – which has the lowest wholesale membership fee – may still be the most attractive option.

Walmart Still the Undisputed Superstore Leader

And although Walmart may be going through a temporary visit slump, it’s important to remember that the chain is still the most dominant brick-and-mortar retail player in the country. In 2022, over half of the total visits (59%) to Walmart, Target, Costco, BJ’s, and Sam’s Club went to Walmart, slightly lower than the chain’s visit share in 2019. 

The cross-shopping trends are even more impressive: Between 74.4% and 92.1% of 2022 visitors to the other superstores also visited Walmart at least once last year, and between 48.6% and 72.8% also visited Walmart at least four times, for an average of one visit to Walmart per quarter. And between 21.3% and 44.5% of visitors to other superstores in 2022 (more than one out of every 5 visitors) also visited Walmart at least 12 times last year, for an average of one Walmart visit a month. This all indicated that Walmart is still extremely well positioned to hold on to its throne as America’s reigning superstore despite the stiffening competition. 

For more data-driven retail insights, go to placer.ai/blog

Get 3 brand & industry
breakdowns every week

Subscribe to the newsletter

Great! Prepare your inbox for data-driven insights...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get a Demo

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please provide a valid email
Please enter your email
Please enter company name

Thanks for reaching out!

One of our experts will be in touch soon

Try Placer.ai Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Text Link
Walmart
Text Link
Target
Text Link
Superstores
Coffee Chains: Q1 2024 Update and What’s Changed Since COVID
Checking in with RBI and YUM!
Chipotle & McDonald's Serving Up Success
Wingstop & Shake Shack Continue Growing Their Reach 
Strong Start for Sprouts in 2024
Crocs’ Footwear Fairytale
Who Attends NCAA Final Four Events?
Eclipse Fever: How Did the (Retail and Hospitality) Stars Align?
Exploring Albertsons Companies’ Grocery Growth
Placer.ai Mall Index: March 2024 Recap – Malls Rise Again
Placer.ai Office Index: March 2024 Recap
Florida Spring Break Break-Up? Travelers Still Love Florida!
Provo-Orem and Ogden-Clearfield Emerging As Utah Hotspots 
Three Formulas for Experiential Retail in 2024
Aldi & Lidl Making The Cut
Texas Suburbs on the Rise
Exploring Luxury Hotel Brands’ Guest Segmentation
The St. Patrick’s Day Effect
How Can JOANN Make a Comeback?
Panera Bread Well Positioned for Possible IPO
Who Will Benefit From Family Dollar’s Downsizing?
Dave & Buster’s and Main Event Entertainment: Food and Fun for Everyone
Darden Brands: Location Analytics and Consumer Behavior
Nike and lululemon: a Strong 2023, Sprinting into 2024
Where Is Retail and Dining Foot Traffic Thriving in Early 2024?
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – February 2024
Three Retail & Dining Chains That May Surprise in 2024
Specialty Discount Chains Rock Retail Therapy
Placer.ai Mall Index: February 2024
Placer.ai Office Index: February 2024 Recap
Ulta Beauty Continues To Shine
First Watch Sails Into 2024
Hibbett Sports and DICK’S Sporting Goods: A Psychographic Analysis
Checking in With Discount & Dollar Stores
Peeking Behind The Curtain: Movie Theaters in 2023 and Beyond
Diving Into Brick-and-Mortar Eyewear
Getting Into Gear: Exploring The Auto Part Industry
Recapping Valentine’s Day 2024 Foot Traffic Trends
Fitness: A Strong Start to 2024
Dutch Bros. Continues To Percolate Visits
Super Bowl 2024: Placer.ai’s Postgame Foot Traffic Analysis
CAVA & sweetgreen Are On the Rise
Hats Off For Off-Price
Who Is Shopping at Malls?
Drilling Down Into Home Improvement
Walmart, Target, Costco & Superstore Space 2023 Recap
Catching Up With Shake Shack and Wingstop
Something To Chew On: Demographic Shifts at Steakhouse Chains
Placer.ai Office Index: Looking Back at 2023
Recapping RBI & Yum! Brands’ 2023 Foot Traffic Performance
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – January 2024
Who Shops at Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters?
Three Taco Chains to Watch in 2024
Starbucks and Dunkin’: 2023 in Four Data Points
Who Visits CVS and Walgreens?
Fashionably Frugal: Apparel in 2023
Catching Up With Fast Food
The Grocery Sector in 2023: An End-of-Year Recap
3 Mall & Shopping Center Trends for 2024
Bakery Chains Rising To The Top
Placer.ai and Esri Partner to Deliver Geospatial Analytics
Tampa Tourism Trends
Going For The Green: The Changing Dynamics Of Country Clubs
Christmas Day Dining Recap
Major Urban Shopping Districts – Holiday Season Recap
Placer.ai Office Index: December 2023 Recap
Recapping the 2023 Holiday Shopping Season
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – December 2023
7 Retail & Dining Segments to Watch in 2024
Diving Into Holiday Season Favorites
Super Saturday and Christmas Eve Eve: A Winning Combination
3 Budget Grocery Chains Finishing 2023 On a High Note
Making It In America: International Chicken Chains Bring The Heat
Domestic Tourism at a Glance: A Q3 2023 Roundup
Five Pizza Chains On The Rise
Jewelry Brands Taking Advantage of the DTC Opportunity
Secondhand News: Kids' Thrift Shops
Recapping 2023’s Dining M&As
MetLife Stadium Kicks Off Football Season
Placer.ai Office Index: November 2023 Recap
Small Coffee Chains Brewing Big Success
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – November 2023
Thanksgiving Travel 2023 Recap
Checking in With Nike and Lululemon
Black Friday 2023 Retail Recap
Starbucks’ 2023 Holiday Menu & Red Cup Day Performance
Turkey Wednesday 2023
Who Attended the 2023 Pickleball Championship? 
Three Surprising Holiday Shopping Trends
What’s in Store for Ulta Beauty This Holiday Season?
Best Buy and Department Stores: A Holiday Deep Dive
Discount & Dollar Stores: Strength Toward The End of the Year
The State of Off-Price Retail: Discounts Seal The Deal
Placer Mall Index Recap: October 2023
Placer.ai Office Index: October 2023 Recap
Retail Corridors Ahead of the 2023 Holiday Season
California, Here Gap Comes
Checking in With Home Improvement
Getting Into the Glasses Game: Warby Parker Takes Over
Fitness Positioned for a Strong 2023 Finish