When we last dove into the performance of Walmart and Target, the writing was already on the wall - both brands were positioned for a strong 2022. And a few months into the year, it appears that this prediction - albeit not bold - was very much on point.
A Strong Start in Difficult Circumstances
Looking at visits for both retailers through the beginning of 2022 showed a significant year-over-year jump in visits. Walmart has averaged a 4.9% monthly visits increase compared to the equivalent months in 2021, while Target has seen a 6.1% average monthly increase. The success is especially significant considering the unique and wide array of challenges faced in early 2022, and serves as a powerful testament to the ability of both retailers to thrive even in a difficult environment.
The growth becomes even more significant for Target when compared to a pre-pandemic 2019. Monthly visits have been up 10.5% on average through the first four months of 2022. While Walmart’s metrics were down slightly from this view, the ability to see essentially equal visits to a pre-pandemic period is a noteworthy achievement.
The ongoing success - even in especially difficult circumstances - speaks to the long-term gains from investments in innovation, a more comprehensive omnichannel experience, and a deep understanding of their customer.
This strength comes further into view when looking at the performance compared to the wider superstore category and to another high performing segment - grocery. While grocery visits saw far greater year-over-year strength at the height of Omicron’s retail impact in January, Walmart and Target proceeded to drive stronger results in February and April, while seeing nearly identical visit rates in March.
The April jump is especially significant in that it indicates a powerful ability to drive even greater returns as the shock and effect of retail headwinds like inflation and rising gas prices begin to fade. This will become even more significant if the wider challenges continue to dissipate heading into the summer retail season.
Another important element to consider is the long-term effect of key strategic decisions. In Target’s case, none stands out as much as the partnership with Ulta. Target locations with Ulta shop-in-shops have significantly outperformed in all months but February. The ability to effectively roll out partnerships that help drive added urgency are of particular value here.
Target’s vast product offering means that a visit geared towards any specific type of shopping can quickly turn into a far more robust shopping experience. The result is an increased ability to satisfy more customer needs with a single visit while driving larger basket sizes, all while launching more elements that serve as a core incentive for the initial visit.
Can Walmart and Target continue to dominate deeper into 2022? Visit Placer.ai to find out.