What Does Consumer Foot Traffic Look Like on Labor Day Weekend?

September 5, 2023

Labor Day weekend is widely associated with end-of-summer festivities and travel. Many Americans are off from work or school, ready to take advantage of the long weekend. So, where do people go on Labor Day weekend, and how does consumer foot traffic over Labor Day weekend compare to other weekends at this time of year?

We recently examined major consumer foot traffic trends for our Q2 2023 Consumer Trends Report, and found that trends continue to ebb and flow. Shopping destinations experienced increases in year-over-year foot traffic, while entertainment venues and accommodations saw significant declines in foot traffic. We wondered how these trends might affect foot traffic over Labor Day and if there were any other predictions we could make for this time of year.

A family enjoys a trip to the water park

To learn more, we examined consumer foot traffic to a variety of place categories over Labor Day weekend in 2022. We compared that data with the weekend prior to gain a better understanding of how consumer foot traffic shifts during the holiday.

Consumer Foot Traffic on Labor Day Weekend

During Labor Day weekend last year, several of the place categories we analyzed experienced significant increases in foot traffic. For example, accommodations of all kinds saw 13% more foot traffic during Labor Day weekend compared to the weekend prior. Furthermore, entertainment venues saw 14% more foot traffic, and outdoor and recreation destinations saw 13% more foot traffic. Arts venues and transportation hubs also saw notable increases in foot traffic of 10% and 8%, respectively. Labor Day weekend in 2022 seems to have been a fairly busy weekend for adventurous consumers.

On the other hand, banking and finance locations saw the greatest decline in foot traffic over Labor Day weekend last year, with a 7% decline. Not only are many of these locations closed for the holiday, but as consumers focus on creating a memorable Labor Day weekend, they likely visit business or finance locations less.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the top place categories in this analysis to learn more.

Entertainment Venues on Labor Day Weekend

As consumers spent time away from work during Labor Day weekend, entertainment venues saw an influx of visitors. Last year, arenas and stadiums saw the greatest increase in visitors, with a significant 26% jump in foot traffic. Labor Day tends to be a busy weekend for games, concerts, and other in-person events, so it makes sense that arenas and stadiums would see some of the biggest increases in consumer foot traffic.

Also seeing a significant gain in foot traffic were aquariums, with a 20% increase. Young families likely flock to venues like aquariums to make the most of their extra free time together, and to take advantage of the deals and promotions aquariums may offer during Labor Day. On top of that, consumers tend to visit indoor entertainment venues or amusement parks over Labor Day weekend, along with movie theaters. Because both work and school are out during this holiday, family-friendly locations tend to attract the most consumers, but all entertainment destinations in this category saw increased foot traffic.

Outdoors & Recreation Destinations on Labor Day Weekend

We saw similar results when examining the Outdoors & Recreation category during Labor Day weekend in 2022. Theme parks and water parks saw 21% more foot traffic, and outdoor entertainment or sports arenas saw 19% more foot traffic. Athletics and sports venues also saw a notable increase of 15%. Again, every sub-category saw increased foot traffic on Labor Day weekend.

Aside from family-friendly entertainment, consumers will likely be looking for other ways to unplug from life’s daily routines, seeking out wilderness parks, nature destinations, and more. So, with many consumers traveling over Labor Day weekend, where do they tend to stay?

Foot Traffic to Accommodations on Labor Day Weekend

After analyzing foot traffic to accommodations during Labor Day weekend, it seems consumers are not only focused on fun but also relaxation. Destination resorts saw the greatest increase in foot traffic over Labor Day weekend last year, with a 19% increase. This significant increase in consumer visits suggests that many consumers save up and plan for relaxing getaways during Labor Day, in contrast to the families who seek out entertainment and outdoor adventure.

Besides destination resorts, hotels saw a notable 13% increase in foot traffic, and all other accommodations saw slight increases as well. This year may prove to fuel even more foot traffic to accommodations of all types, as visits to accommodations have trended down since 2022, and Labor Day weekend in 2023 is projected to be one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.

Labor Day Weekend 2023

Earlier this year, we identified a new trend in consumer spending: consumers are spending more freely but remain thoughtful about their purchases as many are still impacted by economic challenges like inflation. In recent months, year-over-year foot traffic to the majority of place categories we’ve examined has trended down, suggesting that consumers are tightening up their budgets, staying inside, and going out less. In fact, 55% of Americans planned to spend less this Labor Day weekend compared to last year. It will be interesting to analyze this year’s Labor Day foot traffic trends.

At this time last year, consumers were seeking out adventurous activities and opportunities to travel, so while some consumers may cut back on spending this year, Labor Day weekend in 2023 was most likely filled with adventure and relaxation for many—even if it was from their own backyards.

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