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Major Urban Shopping Districts – Holiday Season Recap

Lila Margalit
January 9, 2024
Major Urban Shopping Districts – Holiday Season Recap

With their experiential vibes and treasured blends of well-known brands and local gems, high-street retail corridors are experiencing something of a renaissance. Iconic shopping districts like Fifth Avenue and SoHo in New York City, Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, and Newbury Street in Boston are seeing steady influxes of luxury and high-end apparel brands. And economic headwinds notwithstanding, consumers continue to flock to these important retail destinations to shop, grab a bite to eat, and take in all the sights and sounds they have to offer. 

So with the new year upon us, we dove into the data to see how major urban shopping districts nationwide fared this holiday season. How did visits to these corridors in the final months of 2023 compare to last year? And who are the consumers driving the high-street revival? 

Visits on an Upswing

Over the past six months, visits to major urban shopping districts have been consistently higher than they were last year. And as the holiday season kicked into gear, the year-over-year (YoY) growth trajectory trended upwards – indicating a robust turnout during this holiday period. 

Affluent, Educated Urbanites Driving Growth

To examine some of the factors behind this growth, we analyzed the demographic profiles of the captured markets of POIs (points of interest) corresponding to major high-street corridors throughout the country. 

The analysis shows that throughout the U.S., high-street shopping districts hold special appeal for affluent audiences – and for consumers belonging to’s PersonaLive’s “Educated Urbanite” psychographic segment. This segment encompasses well-educated young singles that live in dense urban areas and make relatively high salaries. Given the demographic profile of their visitors, it’s no wonder that high-street corridors are finding success while expanding their luxury and high-end apparel portfolios.

New York City’s Iconic Corridors

In Q4 2023, the captured markets of Fifth Avenue, SoHo, and Times Square all featured higher median household incomes (HHIs), and greater shares of the “Educated Urbanite” segment than New York’s statewide baselines. Each of these quintessential New York City landmarks, however, drew a somewhat different visitor base. 

Fifth Avenue, with its array of museums, luxury high-rises, and expensive department stores, drew the most affluent crowd, with a captured market median HHI of $105.6K – some 35.7% above the statewide median. SoHo, for its part, known for designer apparel stores, trendy cafes, and whimsical tourist attractions (Museum of Ice Cream, anyone?), attracted the largest share of “Educated Urbanites.” And Times Square, a top Big Apple attraction with broad popular appeal, boasted a visitor profile closest to statewide baselines. 

California’s Main Drags

A look at the visitor profiles of major California shopping districts reveals a similar trend. The captured markets of Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive, Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Promenade, Hayes Valley in San Francisco, and Abbot Kinney in Los Angeles all had higher median HHIs in Q4 2023 than the statewide median of $85.7K. Of these, the captured market with the highest median HHI was that of Hayes Valley in San Francisco – an unsurprising finding given the relative affluence of the Bay Area. Not far behind was Rodeo Drive, with a median HHI of $113.9K.

Hayes Valley also led the charge for “Educated Urbanites,” with no less than 61.4% of the population of its captured market  – nearly two-thirds – belonging to this segment. But all four of the analyzed high-street corridors were significantly over-indexed for this demographic compared to the California baseline of 13.1%.

A Regional Roundup: Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia

Looking at urban shopping districts in other major cities nationwide – including Newbury Street in Boston, Fulton Market in Chicago, and Walnut Street in Philadelphia – shows that the unique draw of these corridors for young, affluent singles isn’t confined to New York and Chicago. In all three corridors, the median HHIs and shares of “Educated Urbanites” in the captured markets 

also exceeded statewide baselines – oftentimes by a wide margin.

Final Thoughts

Evolving work routines and post-COVID population shifts continue to present municipalities and other civic stakeholders with significant challenges. But the revival of high-street retail corridors shows that cities are up to the task. How will major urban shopping districts fare in the new year? And how will their audiences continue to evolve? 

Follow’s data-driven retail foot traffic analyses to find out.

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