Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In

Starbucks - 2021 Recap

Ethan Chernofsky
January 31, 2022
Starbucks - 2021 Recap

While our latest Coffee Deep Dive broke down the unique opportunity in the coffee and breakfast segment of the wider dining space, there was a specific need to call out the strength displayed by Starbucks in 2021.

The Expanded Power of Starbucks

Considering the wider impacts of COVID on shopping and work behavior, it would have been fair to assume that visits would remain below normal levels throughout the year. And that is exactly how 2021 began, with visits down 16.1% and 18.4% in January and February, respectively, compared to the same months in 2019. Yet, by March, visits had returned to growth and remained that way throughout the rest of the year.

Visits peaked in the summer with the Back-to-School shopping season driving ample opportunities to drop by a Starbucks. And though this period performed well, it would have been fair to expect visit rates to decline in the fall, considering the comparison to November and December months that consistently mark the annual traffic peaks for the brand. However, visits did just the opposite, with Q4 marking visit increases of 7.0%, 13.2%, and 9.8% respectively in October, November, and December compared to the same months in 2019 – an especially strong performance considering the heights hit during this period in the past.

And the month over month comparisons confirm that, while behaviors have changed and shifted over the past two years, the brand has maintained its normal seasonality. October visits were up 3.4% and November visits were up 14.7% compared to the previous month, showcasing Starbucks’ ability to successfully drive a yearly fall visit surge. 


The holiday season was particularly interesting for Starbucks because there was real reason for concern. The brand normally sees some of its strongest performances on major retail holidays, and the extended shopping season did threaten to diminish the heights reached on any given day. Instead, Starbucks saw five of its best visit days since the start of 2017 take place during the 2021 holiday season. Essentially, as the holiday shopping season extended earlier and more to off-peak days, shoppers continued to prioritize a visit to a Starbucks to refuel as part of the shopping trip. 

Impressively, this also happened as visit length dropped over 18% compared to the same quarter in 2019. So although visits were shorter, the number of visits actually grew as the holiday retail period shifted. The success is critical as it shows that Starbucks will adapt to the patterns dictated by the wider retail and work environment.

What Does It Mean Moving Forward?

Starbucks is still operating in a strange and challenging environment where office visits have yet to normalize. As more people return to the office, the drop-in numbers at Starbucks should increase. At the same time, the new balance in favor of remote and hybrid work should create an added incentive to visit nearby Starbucks locations and utilize the café space as a place to work away from home. 

This new balance should help Starbucks thrive through its unique combination of wide reach and multichannel approach that enables it to give its customers what they want – whether it is a convenient cup of coffee on the go or a more extended stay in a location. Combine this with a proven ability to succeed in a shifting retail environment and the reasons for Starbucks optimism in 2022 expand.

How will Starbucks perform in 2022?  

Visit 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 Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Digitally Native Brands Lean Into Brick & Mortar
Washington, D.C. Population Changes & Trends
A Location Intelligence Perspective on Macy’s Rightsizing
Amazon-Powered Shopping: The Future of Brick-and-Mortar Grocery?
Cold Weather, Hot Visits: Diving into Winter Resorts
Wawa and 7-Eleven: Leaning Into the “Slurpee Effect”
2022 and Beyond: Catching Up With McDonald’s & Chipotle
Let’s Have Some Fun! Going Out Is In’s Q4 2022 Quarterly Index Adds Industry Executives to Leadership Team To Drive Company's Next Phase of Growth
5 Emerging Retail Formats: 2023’s Brick-and-Mortar Evolution
Grocery Update: Zooming in on the Lone Star State
2022 Office Recap: The Year of the TGIF Work Week
What Lies Ahead for Brick-and-Mortar Luxury in 2023 Mall Indexes: December 2022 Recap
Looking Back on 2022’s Holiday Shopping Season
Post-Pandemic Migration Trends in New York
Top Retailers for 2023
The Live Sports Advertising Opportunity
Domestic Migration to the Mountain States: Small Shifts with Big Implications
New Year, New Food: 5 Dining Trends For 2023
This is Why Shop-in-Shops Are Everywhere
Super Saturday 2022 Recap
The San Francisco Shift
Grocery Year-End Update: Publix in the Spotlight
Three Ways Retailers Can Think Small to Increase Store Impact
Offline Beauty Is on an Upswing
The Evolving Migration Patterns of New York’s Florida Snowbirds Office Index: November 2022 Recap
How Viral Social Media Trends Can Drive Offline Engagement
Are You Ready for Some Football? Experiential Marketing Shows Promise
Mall and Shopping Center Trends For 2023
Retail Corridors and Indoor Malls: A Holiday Head-to-Head
Placer Bytes: Nike, lululemon, and GameStop Update Mall Indexes: November 2022 Update
Black Friday 2022: Consumers Hear the Call
Digitally Native Brands: Taking Off, Offline
Discount and Dollar Stores Leading the Pack
Turkey Wednesday 2022
Retail’s Evolving Holiday Season
Placer Bytes: Starbucks and Department Stores Ahead of Black Friday
Ulta: A Force to be Reckoned With
College Towns Drive Dining Growth
Foot Traffic Trends Reveal Consumers Ready for Holiday Cheer
How Retailers Can Win Big By Going Small
How Are Consumers Feeling Ahead of Black Friday 2022?
Off-Price, Hibbett, and Dick’s Pre-Holiday Check-in
Ho, Ho, Wholesale: Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s
October 2022’s Retail Rebound
Target and Walmart Ahead of the Holidays
Home Improvement: Leave it to the Pros
Despite Inflation, Holiday Season is Off to a Good Start Office Index: October 2022 Recap Mall Indexes- October 2022 Update
Americans Double Down on Fitness
The State of Grocery
CVS and Walgreens: The Wave Continues
Coffee Chains Brewing Up Visits Spotlight: Pizza Players
What Drove COVID-Era Urban Migration Trends?
Kroger and Albertsons: A Merging of Strengths
Texas Roadhouse Innovations Dishing Up Success
Holidays on the Horizon: Mid-Range and Luxury Shopping
McDonald's and Chipotle's Post-Pandemic Success
Announcing’s Q3 2022 Quarterly Index
5 Hot Restaurant Brands for 2023
Target Finds a Winning Deals Day Formula
Five Trends to Watch for 2022’s Holiday Shopping Season
September 2022 Analysis: A Difficult Month and Time for Optimism
Inflation’s Retail Winners
Five Apparel Retailers to Watch Ahead of the Holidays Spotlight: Wawa’s QSR Pivot Mall Indexes: September 2022 Recap Office Indexes: September 2022 Recap
The Impact of Population Growth on Commercial Real Estate 
Starbucks' New Makeover
There's Somethin' About Pumpkin
Expanding Offline Reach
Breakfast Restaurants are Rising in Popularity
The Power of Labor Day 2022
Tourism in Miami Heating Up
Citi Trends on the Rise
Reaching Rural Consumers Through Retail Media Network
Darden Restaurants Cooking Up Success
The Home Improvement Sector: A Sign of Consumer Confidence
QSR Is Having a Northeastern Growth Spurt
Domestic Migration’s Ripple Effects
A Look Back at Back To School 2022
Kroger Digital Tell-All
The Return of In-Person Networking
The Reinvention of the American Mall Office Building Indexes: August 2022 Recap Mall Indexes - August 2022 Recap
Five Below’s Back to School Success
Plus-Size Fashion’s Staying Power
Placer Bytes: Best Buy & GameStop 
Petco Barking Up the Right Tree
Lipstick Effect Boosts Ulta’s Growth 
Placer Bytes: DICK's Sporting Goods and Hibbett Sports