Top 10 Brands to Watch: Predicted 2023 Foot Traffic Trends
February 14, 2023
In-person shopping has been back in full swing since Q3 of 2022, increasing as pandemic concerns waned. As more Americans prioritize social activity, travel, and affordability, 2023 foot traffic trends may look vastly different from the three years prior. We looked at recent best-performing brands in terms of foot traffic, and we’ve created a list of what we believe to be the top brands to watch throughout 2023. This list has been created by comparing Q4 2022 foot traffic with Q4 2021 foot traffic. This gives us an idea of which brands have been attracting more in-person visits in 2022, likely continuing their draw through this year.
There are two major trends reflected in this list: food and home improvement. But, one thing is for sure: retailers are attracting more Americans than any other category of business. So what are the top 10 brands we’re keeping an eye on this year?
This supercenter retailer has attracted significant in-person visits in Q4 2022, up 50% when compared to Q4 2021. 2023’s foot traffic may continue showing more affinity for supercenter retailers like Meijer. As inflation continues affecting many Americans, people are most likely still looking for one-stop shopping where they can get a variety of goods at once. This midwestern retailer has 240 supercenters in operation, and with their recent increase in foot traffic, may be expanding throughout 2023.
9. Ace Hardware
2023’s foot traffic will likely be increasing for home improvement, building, and repair retailers like Ace Hardware. As the ninth retailer in our list, Ace Hardware attracted 53% more year-over-year foot traffic in Q4 2022. Because of the increase in home prices and mortgage rates, more Americans are choosing to renovate and improve their current homes, explaining this dramatic increase in foot traffic. In fact, 9 out of 10 Americans have goals to improve their homes over the next year, so Ace Hardware and its competitors may be seeing even higher growth this year.
This southern convenience store has been family-owned since 1934. RaceTrac locations offer a wide variety of food and beverage options including fresh hot and cold food. As more Americans are on the go, it’s no surprise that locations like RaceTrac are attracting more in-person visitors. In Q4 2022, RaceTrac saw an increase of 60% in year-over-year foot traffic, making it the eighth brand on our list. With such consumer attraction, the company is also looking to expand into new territory, possibly making 2023 another year for substantial growth in foot traffic.
7. Stop & Shop
Regional grocers are attracting more and more visitors recently, and Stop & Shop takes the seventh spot in our list. This northeastern grocery chain attracted 61% more foot traffic in Q4 2022 compared to the same quarter in 2021. This growth is significant, and it may be because of the brand’s focus on delivery and pickup. The chain has also taken a community-focused approach, employing dietitians in-store, and creating programs to educate the community. As 2023 progresses, it will be interesting to see how Stop & Shop compares to its competitors.
6. BJ’s Wholesale
Warehouse club chain BJ’s Wholesale allows members to shop in bulk. Bulk shopping has been a recent trend likely due to supply chain disruptions and food cost inflation that have impacted shoppers. As more and more families look to stretch their dollars, wholesalers like BJ’s may continue seeing more foot traffic this year. BJ’s Wholesale saw an increase of 70% from Q4 2021 to Q4 2022. In sixth on the list, BJ’s will likely continue its growth and consumer attraction this year.
5. Harbor Freight Tools
Because Americans are currently focused on renovating, improving, and repairing their homes, Harbor Freight is likely a go-to destination for many. The company saw an increase of 70% in foot traffic from Q4 2021 to Q4 2022. Last year, Harbor Freight opened 131 new stores and was named the nation’s fastest growing retailer. Because of these reasons, we believe Harbor Freight will see continued growth in foot traffic and sales this year. Will the company take advantage of recent consumer interest in the home improvement industry? We will be keeping an eye on how this specialty tools and equipment company positions itself this year.
4. The Home Depot
The home improvement retail category has seen the most growth in foot traffic, making brands like Home Depot important ones to watch. Home Depot is the world’s largest home improvement retailer by market cap and store count. With the recent surge in building, repairing, and renovating of homes, the company’s growth is significant. Home Depot saw an increase of 78% in year-over-year foot traffic when comparing Q4 2022 to Q4 2021.
2023 foot traffic trends will likely continue supporting grocery and wholesale destinations, seeing as ShopRite has made it to the top 3 of our list. Year-over-year, the company experienced an 87% increase in foot traffic. With the company’s focus on health and wellness, ShopRite will likely continue retaining and attracting shoppers in 2023.
2. Lowe’s Home Improvement
Lowe’s, one of the nation’s top destinations for home improvement needs saw 94% more in-person shoppers in Q4 2022 versus Q4 2021. This significant growth may be due to the surge of new home improvers. Lowe’s has plans to continue its company growth over 2023. Foot traffic will likely continue on an incline for this home improvement retailer giant this year.
Menards the third largest home improvement chain in the nation (behind Lowe’s and Home Depot). The company is also involved in real estate and has self-storage facilities, manufacturing operations, and contractor opportunities. Because of the company’s multifaceted approach and recent trends within the industry, Menards will likely see continued growth in foot traffic this year. As a privately-owned company, Menards is seeing substantial estimated sales growth. They’ve also seen the highest growth in year-over-year foot traffic that we’ve seen. From Q4 2021 to Q4 2022, Menards experienced growth of 103% in foot traffic. As the top brand to watch in 2023, foot traffic trends are likely to continue in favor of brands like Menards.
Top Brands: Other Categories
Because home improvement destinations overtook our top 10 brands to watch, here are some top performers in other categories from Q4 2021 to Q4 2022:
Extended Stay America, Quality Inn, and Super 8 Motels were at the top of this category, with Extended Stay America seeing the largest increase in foot traffic. Super 8 saw 29% more in-person visitors in Q4 2022, compared to the same time period in the year prior.
Popeye’s, Sonic Drive-In, and Cousins Subs were the top three performers in restaurant foot traffic for the time period analyzed. Cousins Subs experienced a year-over-year increase of 47% in foot traffic.
In this category, Advance Auto Parts saw the largest foot traffic increase with a 44% increase year-over-year. AutoZone and BMW Group followed, making up the top three.
2023: Predicted Trends
2023 foot traffic trends and consumer interests have the ability to shift throughout the year, but these top brands are likely to set the tone in their respective industries.
Not only is the home improvement business predicted to boom based on current consumer trends, but in-person consumerism may go through overall changes. For example, as consumers become more cost-conscious, they may be more strategic about the products and services they shop for. Dollar and discount stores will likely continue attracting visitors, and other shopping destinations may place a greater emphasis on community outreach.
After the pandemic, customers began to focus on social experiences, and the importance of making shopping a memorable experience may affect the consumer electronics industry as well. As specialty electronic stores struggle, this could be the year they make a comeback with innovative technologies and creative ideas. Although pricey establishments for food and entertainment are seeing less foot traffic than more affordable options, 2023 could bring forth surprising trends.
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