Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

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

Placer Bytes: McDonald’s and Luxury Retailers

by 
R.J. Hottovy
 on 
December 22, 2021
Placer Bytes: McDonald’s and Luxury Retailers

In this Placer Bytes, we dive into two ends of the affordability spectrum by looking at McDonald’s recent foot traffic data and analyzing the recovery of leading luxury retailers. 

McDonald’s 2021 Recovery 

For McDonald’s, like for the rest of the dining sector, this year started off difficult in terms of in-location visits. But the fast-food leader saw its traffic increase significantly in July 2021, and visits have stayed in line with 2019 levels ever since. Most recently, October visits were up 3.8% and November visits were down only 1.9% compared to 2019 – indicating that McDonald’s has essentially recovered. 

But while monthly foot traffic is now back to pre-COVID heights, comparing visit patterns in July-November 2021 with foot patterns from the same period in 2019 reveals the impact the pandemic is still having on the QSR leader.

Foot Traffic Patterns not Quite Back to Normal 

Overall monthly foot traffic may be back to pre-pandemic levels, but the pandemic’s impact can still be seen across a range of location analytics metrics. The median visit length for McDonald’s customers is still down by more than 10%, from a median stay of 29 minutes in 2019 to a median stay of 26 minutes in 2021. The decrease in median visit length may reflect continuing concern over COVID risks and the desire to minimize time indoors with strangers, but it could also reflect the fact that both the brand and its customers have gotten more comfortable with hybrid forms of ordering over the pandemic, which is leading to shorter wait times. 

The share of weekday visits has also decreased since 2019, which may be due to the stickiness of the “work from home” and hybrid work models due to which fewer people are out and about mid-week looking for convenient dining options.

McDonald's Breakfast and Lunch Visits Still Down

The decrease in out-and-about office workers seems to also have had a negative impact on lunchtime visits across many fast food and fast casual restaurants, including McDonald’s. Breakfast visits may be down for similar reasons – fewer people heading out to the office in the morning means that fewer people are stopping by McDonald’s to grab a quick and convenient breakfast during their commute. But the decrease in breakfast visits may also be due to the rise of new breakfast players – in last month’s QSR recap, we discussed Wendy’s recent success in the breakfast space and showed how the Ohio-based fast food brand has managed to snag some breakfast visit shares from the QSR giant. 

For McDonald’s, the fall in breakfast and lunch visits does not seem to be significantly affecting overall foot traffic. The brand may have seen more visits before 3 PM in 2019, but it is seeing more afternoon and evening visits now – and the overall post 3 PM boost is significant enough that the brand is still reaching monthly 2019 visit levels: Between July and November 2019, 49.8% of daily visits to McDonald’s took place before 3 PM, compared to 46.4% of visits that took place between 3 PM and 11 PM. During those same months in 2021, McDonald’s received 50.1% of its visits after 3 PM, and only 45.4% of its visits before 3 PM. 

The shift to later-in-the-day visits revealed by the data has also been acknowledged by McDonald’s leadership. If this trend continues, it may begin to impact McDonald’s strategy on matters ranging from menu decisions to branch opening hours. 

Luxury Apparel’s Strength 

Note: This section features data from our Luxury Retailers Index, which tracks over 120 luxury retailers across the country, including brands such as Gucci, Coach, Louis Vuitton, Prada, and Tiffany & Co. 

In the past, we’ve highlighted the off-price sector’s key role in the overall apparel recovery. But another apparel category, at the other end of the spectrum, seems also to be doing particularly well in recent months – luxury retailers. 

Luxury retailers have been close to a full visit recovery since April 2021, when the Yo2Y visit gap shrunk down to just 1.7%. But after reaching Yo2Y visit growth in July, foot traffic fell again as the fourth COVID wave brought another blow to in-store shopping. Recently, however, the luxury category appears to have made an impressive comeback, with October visits up 6.9% and November visits up 1.4% compared to 2019. The positive Yo2Y visit growth in November is all the more impressive given the slight Yo2Y decrease in foot traffic over Black Friday Weekend – which means that the foot traffic bump during the rest of the month was significant enough that it outweighed any Black Friday visit losses. 

It seems, then, that the extended holiday shopping season has been especially successful for luxury retailers. The real question is whether the success will last. Limitations on international travel, growing disposable income among luxury retail’s target market and even stimulus programs have all given luxury an added boost. In addition, the shoppers that are visiting luxury retailers have been showing a clear intent to buy leading to reports of larger basket sizes. Should the sector prove capable of maintaining these interactions into 2022, it could quickly position itself among the best performing sectors in all of retail.

Will luxury retailers continue to grow? Will breakfast and lunch visits return to McDonald’s? 

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.
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