Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

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

Placer Bytes: Costco's December and Mall Holiday Analysis

by 
Ethan Chernofsky
 on 
January 12, 2021
Placer Bytes: Costco's December and Mall Holiday Analysis

In this Placer Bytes, we dive into the December performance of Costco and analyze the holiday season for malls.

Costco’s 2020 End

Costco began 2020 with significant year-over-year growth in January and February, and a slight increase in March before seeing the effects of COVID take over in April. Yet, by July, visits were back to year-over-year growth even as visit durations increased giving the brand the combined benefits of more visits and more impactful visits, likely indicating larger basket sizes.

But December visits were down again as a resurgence of COVID cases hit, with a heavy emphasis on key regions for Costco. After seeing visits up as much as 4.5% in October, visits in November dropped 0.8% and December saw the visit gap grow to 2.6%.

Yet, timing is everything. And for Costco it does appear that the only thing limiting visits was COVID-related. By the week beginning December 21st, visits were back to being down just 1.7% year over year. Even more, the decline during that week might actually be related to the breakdown of days. In 2019, the pre-Christmas buzz fell on already strong weekend days giving Costco a bigger boost. In 2020, these visits happened during the weekday, likely limiting that peak.

However, the real sign of strength for Costco again came in the form of visit duration. The brand saw a massive 6.7% jump, a huge increase especially considering the already long average visit duration for a wholesale club. 

This could be a critical factor in understanding how they have performed so well amid the pandemic, and why 2021 could be even better. Yes, there are fewer visits in December, but, with visitors spending more time at locations, this ‘drop’ may actually be explained by less of a need for more visits, as shoppers accomplish more with each one. And even more, the visit declines are not large, indicating that there are many new customers as well. Considering the ‘stickiness’ of the club model, the brand’s value orientation and the continuation of visit duration increases, Costco could be heading into 2021 stronger than ever before.

How Bad Were the Holidays for Malls?

Analyzing mall data has made us among the most bullish when it comes to the future potential of the mall sector, even in the near term. And analyzing mall performance over the holidays only deepens that feeling. Analyzing over two dozen top tier malls across the country shows the strong start to 2020 for the sector as a whole. But after bringing visits within 30% of 2019 numbers by October, the resurgence of COVID cases caused the visit gap to balloon to 42.2% in November.

Yet, December once again showed the resilience of consumer demand and the desire of shoppers to return to top malls. Visits were down just 32.4% year over year, only slightly behind the mark set in October. And importantly, this is putting mall visits up against December 2019, which was an exceptionally strong month for the segment.

The immediate nature of the post-Black Friday recovery, the strength in early 2020 and the height reached in 2020 amid exceptionally difficult circumstances all reinforce the idea that 2021 could be much kinder to indoor malls than many expect.

Will Costco continue to outperform? Could indoor malls surprise in 2021? Visit Placer.ai to find out.

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.
Ollie’s Bargain Outlet and Five Below: Q1 2024 Treasure Troves
CAVA Still Going Strong
Driving Success: Auto Parts Chains in 2024
Checking in With DICK’S Sporting Goods
Mother’s Day Shopping and Dining Trends
Placer.ai Mall Index: April 2024 Recap – Retail Resilience Heading into Spring
Dollar Stores Still Gaining Momentum
Off-Price Apparel Chains After Q1 2024: Demographics in the Balance
Walmart, Target, and Wholesale Clubs Continue to Thrive
Home Improvement and Decor Check In
Placer.ai Office Index: April 2024 Recap – Recovery Continues
Movie Theaters in Q1 2024: A Preview of Coming Attractions?
Let’s Get Physical: Fitness In 2024
Where Are Workers Returning to Office in 2024?
2024 Wins: Sweetgreen & First Watch on the Rise
A Full-Service Turnaround: Bloomin’, Dine, and Texas Roadhouse
Wendy’s and Denny’s: Breakfast and Late Night Dining Drives Success
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