Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

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

Placer Bytes: Supplemental Gains & Liquor Booms

by 
Shira Petrack
 on 
July 1, 2021
Placer Bytes: Supplemental Gains & Liquor Booms

In this Placer Bytes, we explore the supplement sector’s brick and mortar recovery and dive into the liquor sector’s enduring expansion.  

Supplemental Gains

Although brick and mortar health stores took a hit during the pandemic, rising interest in health and wellness led to increased supplement and vitamin use, with many consumers turning to e-commerce channels for their nutritional supplement needs. Now that restrictions have mostly been lifted throughout the United States, we dove into the data to find out – are customers returning to offline chanels for their supplement needs?

Pre-COVID Trends

Despite the rise of online supplement purchases through leaders like Amazon and iHerb, brick and mortar supplement stores were generally looking well in the year preceding the pandemic. Although performance was somewhat uneven, The Vitamin Shoppe and GNC still saw an overall increase in visits most months compared to the same month in the previous years, with monthly visits rising an average of 1.2% for The Vitamin Shoppe and 2.9% for GNC in the year immediately preceding the pandemic. 

Pandemic Hardships, Rising Recovery?

Yet, since the pandemic’s retail effects began in the United States in March 2020, the brick and mortar supplement sector has been particularly hard hit. Even though supplement sales rose during the pandemic as Americans tried to do whatever it took to boost their immune systems and keep the virus at bay, the numbers of visitors to The Vitamin Shoppe and GNC stores dropped dramatically in April 2020 – 67.0% and 76.7% respectively – as stores closed throughout the country. 

Now, the Vitamin Shoppe appears to be on the road to recovery, even reaching single digit visit gaps of 5.3% and 8.6% in April and May, respectively, when compared to the same months in two years prior. 

But GNC is still struggling. Although the brand seems to be on an upward trajectory, with March-May average monthly visit gap shrinking to -23.5% from an average visit gap of -31.7% in December-February and -34.9% in September-November compared to the same months two years prior, there is still a long way to go to return to pre-pandemic levels. Though it is worth noting that GNC declared bankruptcy in June 2020 and announced that it will be closing up to 20% of its stores. Given the continued rise in consumer interest in wellness, along with the return to malls, the right sizing efforts could lead to a strong overall comeback.

Liquor Sector Still Going Strong

Alcohol consumption surged during the pandemic. Now that COVID is hopefully on its way to becoming a thing of the past, we surveyed the sector to find out – have pre-pandemic alcohol purchasing patterns returned?

The increase in retail alcohol purchases over COVID was often attributed to the stress of life in the shadow of a global pandemic. But the economic recovery, easing of restrictions, and renewed opportunities to patronize bars and restaurants does not seem to be weakening the sector. An analysis of three regional chains (BevMo! on the West Coast and Arizona, Spec’s in Texas, and ABC Fine Wine & Spirits in Florida) and a national chain (Total Wine & More) indicate that alcohol sales are still very much on the rise. 

Comparing visits in January through May of 2021 to the same months in 2019 shows that Spec’s monthly visits rose by an average of 33.9%, followed by Total Wine & More, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, and BevMo!, with average increases of 28.4%, 20.4%, and 2.0%, respectively. 

BevMo!’s relatively weak performance could be due to its bet on e-commerce in the early days of the pandemic, culminating with its sale to digital convenience store GoPuff in late 2020. And indeed, with restrictions lifted and most customers back to their pre-pandemic routines, visits to BevMo!’s have also taken off – from 0.6% increase in visits in January 2021 to a 5.7% increase in May when compared to the same months two years prior.

No COVID? No Problem! 

Comparing weekly visits in the first half of June with the same period in 2019 continues to reveal double-digits visit increases across the board, with no sign of slowing down: The first three weeks of June brought an average increase in weekly visits of 20.7%, 30.3%, 37.2%, and 41.7% for BevMo!, Total Wine & More, Spec’s, and ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, respectively. 

BevMo! in particular has recovered from its offline pandemic slump, with early data indicating that June might be its strongest month yet since the beginning of the year. It seems, then, that Americans’ heightened alcohol consumption is here to stay – at least for now. 

Will offline alcohol sales continue to rise? Will GNC make a comeback? 

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.
Limited Time Offers: Price Wars Boost Visits
Placer 100 Index for Retail & Dining: June 2024 Recap
Placer.ai Mall Index: June 2024 Recap
Placer.ai Office Index: June 2024 Recap
Inside Out 2: The New Blockbuster Bringing Crowds Back to Theaters
Petco and PetSmart: A Head to Head
Frozen Delights: Exploring Ice Cream Chains Across America
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – June 2024
Barnes & Noble: Writing a New Story
Small Format Stores - Sprouting, Blooming, and Expanding
Retail and Dining on Father’s Day
Thrift Store Visit Scores
Charting Value Grocery’s Visit Growth
Placer 100 Index for Retail & Dining: Introduction and May 2024 Recap
Digging Into Darden: Q2 2024 Update
2024 Retail and Dining Trends Update
TRU and avid: Midscale Hotels on the Rise 
Diving Into Kroger: A Strong Start to 2024
Placer.ai Mall Index: May 2024 Recap – Mall Visits on the Rebound
Placer.ai Office Index: May 2024 Recap
2024 Memorial Day Recap
Las Vegas: A Tourism and Migration Deep Dive
Eatertainment Chains: Full on Food, Fun, and Foot Traffic
The Promise of Luxury Apparel
Catching Up With Ulta Beauty & Gap Brands
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