Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

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

Wholesale to Dominate the Holidays?

by 
Ethan Chernofsky
 on 
November 4, 2020
Wholesale to Dominate the Holidays?

When we put together our expectations for who would dominate the coming holiday season one group that stood out were wholesale clubs. It seems that the unique nature of the current retail environment was well-suited to these brands. 

And while we felt like a surface-level analysis was good, a deeper drive was required to emphasize the point and provide a better lay of the land.

Wholesale Club Leaders on the Rise

Heading into 2020, the wholesale club market was dominated by Costco with Sam’s Club filling the role as a capable second player. Both brands were riding consistent growth into 2020 and the first two months of the year continued the trend with Costco seeing visits up 3.7% and 12.7% in January and February respectively, while Sam’s Club saw increases of 3.5% and 13.5% those same months year over year. And this was after 2019 when annual visits were up 6.8% and 4.7% year over year for Costco and Sam’s Club, respectively. 

BJ’s Wholesale, on the other hand, was not riding the same wave. After seeing visits drop 2.6% between 2018 and 2019, the brand kicked off 2020 with visits down 2.8% in January. But everything turned around with the onset of the pandemic. From the late month surge in February through September, BJ’s has seen nothing but huge year-over-year growth except for seeing just a small increase of 1.2% at the height of the pandemic in April. 

And apart from a minor dip in September, all three brands are seeing visits rising in October with the week of October 19th marking a high point for all three since early September.

Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

Interestingly, it does appear that the wider trend the brands are seeing is tide lifting all boats. While BJ’s is seeing a huge jump in visits, it has not made an overly dramatic impact on visit share. Costco held 54.5% of the overall visits for the group in September 2020, a decline of just 0.6% year over year, while BJ’s jumped 0.8% over that same period. The result is a clear indication that this sector is among those being buoyed overall by changes in consumer behavior.

Perfectly Aligned

But, visits only tell part of the story as this sector may be positioned for a uniquely strong holiday season. Not only are these brands seeing visits rise, but they are also seeing incredibly high-quality visits. While Sam’s Club visit durations have stayed flat, a feat in and of itself, Costco visit duration rose 4.7% from August through October 20th in 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, and BJ’s Wholesale saw durations rise 4.5% during that same period. And they all have a unique value proposition to help customers save money. This positions them exceptionally well along with two of the most critical trends in retail, mission-driven shopping where visitors look to accomplish more with each visit and a higher predisposition to value offerings in a period of extended economic uncertainty. 

How well will this sector perform in the rest of 2020? 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