Walmart and Target Ahead of the Holidays

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As visits across the wider retail landscape ebb and flow with success finding peaks and valleys, Walmart and Target stand out for their ability to thrive almost regardless of the wider context. And after hitting heights in the summer, both brands appear headed for another strong holiday season.

Trending Up Into the Holidays

Target’s visit jumps have continued nearly unabated throughout the year, with the summer months marking new heights as visits in July and August rose 15.8% and 15.9% compared to the same months in 2019. And while September did see a minor step back, October is already seeing even better visit growth with visits up 16.5% nationwide. 

Walmart also enjoyed the summer period with visit declines disappearing in July and August as traffic rose 2.9% and 3.7% respectively compared to 2019. Like Target, Walmart did see a step back in September with visits down 2.1% in September, but foot traffic surged in October with visits up 5.2% compared to 2019 – the strongest comparative mark the retail giant has seen all 2021.

And diving deeper into Walmart weekly visits only reinforces confidence that its brick and mortar locations can drive a major holiday season. Not only did visits do well in the summer months, but they were rising significantly in terms of year-over-two-year growth, before the combination of a rise in COVID cases and the end of the Back-to-School season triggered comparative foot traffic declines. However, visits are rising once again, with late October actually seeing the strongest visit growth since the peaks of the summer retail season.

Rising Visits & Added Opportunities

Walmart and Target were already seeing visits rise steadily month-over-month since the spring, but after the step back into September – a seasonal trend exacerbated by rising COVID cases –  visits jumped significantly in October. Walmart and Target saw October visits up 12.8% and 8.4% in October month-over-month.

And there is real reason to expect that this trend could continue in November and December. Both chains benefit from the unique ability to manufacture demand around owned holidays like Target’s successful Deal Days in October. They are also less reliant on Black Friday weekend than many other retailers, with both seeing equivalent if not greater strength during the days leading up to Christmas than during Black Friday weekend in recent years – even pre-pandemic.

There is also the added opportunity that comes from their wide focus on everything from apparel and toys to food and beverages. The approach enables them to not only attract traffic intended for holiday gift shopping, but also for preparation for Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings. And when that traffic does arrive, the ‘one stop shop’ experience creates an ongoing and significant upsell opportunity.

How great could the holiday retail season be for Walmart and Target? 

Visit Placer.ai to find out.

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