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.
All Eyes on Eyewear
Northwestern U.S. Grocery Dive
Return of the Lunch: Salad Chains Are Thriving
Retail Media Networks – Off the Beaten Track
Bet Your Bottom Dollar: Discount and Dollar Stores Drive Foot Traffic
Ulta & Lululemon: Discretionary Spending On The Up
The Score After Q1: Sporting Goods Chains
Who Uses NYC Airports: Biting Into The Big Apple’s Main Transport Hubs
Off Price: Strength in The Face of Retail Challenges
Visits Improve for Home Improvement
Walmart, Target & Wholesalers in Q1 2023 – The Return of Mission-Driven Shopping?
Department Store Roundup: Q1 2023 Office Index: April 2023 Recap Mall Index, April 2023 – A Rebound on the Horizon?
How Will Bed Bath & Beyond’s Bankruptcy Impact the Retail Space?
Buffet Restaurants: Filling Up on Foot Traffic
Thrift Stores: Vintage Visits Drive New Age in Apparel
The Windy City: A Hub of Post-Pandemic Opportunity
Diving into Dining Traffic - Q1 2023
Bring On The Joe
A Dollar (or more) For Your Thoughts: Five Below and pOpshelf
Dining Out With The Cheesecake Factory
Retail Foot Traffic Recap – March 2023
Digging Into 2023: McDonald’s and Chipotle Update Office Index: March 2023 Recap
How Did Key Retail Categories Perform in Q1 2023?
Northeastern USA Grocery Dive
Movie Theaters Storylines for 2023
Ollie's Bargain Outlet: Discounters are Evolving
Leveraging Brick-and-Mortar Retail in 2023
America’s Evolving Work Patterns: A Deep-Dive into New York and Chicago Mall Index March 2023
Tuning Into Record Stores
Five Franchises To Watch in 2023
What’s Next For Domestic Tourism?
It’s Showtime! Movie Theaters in the Spotlight
5 Limited Time Offers (LTOs) Driving Restaurant Traffic
Department Store Deep-Dive: Belk
Regional Grocery Chains Staying Ahead of the Competition
Five Chains that Rightsized for Success
Unlocking the Potential of Offline Retail Media Networks
Dining Out With Darden
What’s in Store for Self-Storage?
Nike & lululemon Update: Strong Performance Amid Expansion Plans
Many Ways to Win: Midwest Grocery Deep Dive
Retail, Reinvented: The Rise of the Pop-Up Shop
Navigating a New Normal in Business Travel & Commutes Office Index: February 2023 Recap
Retail Categories Staying Strong in Volatile Environment
Ulta Beauty: Poised for Success into 2023 Mall Index February 2023: Reasons for Continued Optimism
Catching Up With DICK’s & Hibbett
The Miami-Dade Arena: An Advertising Slam Dunk
Car Washes Revving Up Visits
Tuesday Morning and Sunrises in Home Furnishing
Dining & Valentine’s Day Recap
2023: The Year of the Discount Store
Aldi’s Success Highlights Growing Demand for Value Groceries
5 Retail & Service Categories Holding onto Pandemic Gains in 2023
Visitor Insights from Super Bowl 2023
2023 First Look: Home Improvement Update
How Are Target, Walmart, and Wholesale Clubs Faring in 2023?
Department Store Deep-Dive: Nordstrom
Off-Price: Taking Off in Uncertain Times
Checking in On Middle-Class Hubs
Who Attends the Super Bowl? Office Index: January 2023 Recap
Focusing On Fitness: Q4 and January Recap Mall Index: January 2023 – Returning Mall Normalcy?
Location Intelligence Insights Into Concert Attendance
Winning Dining Strategies for 2023
In-N-Out Burger: What to Expect as the Brand Moves East
Location Intelligence Breakdown: Coffee Caps-Off 2022
Digitally Native Brands Lean Into Brick & Mortar
Washington, D.C. Population Changes & Migration 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