Who’s Keeping their New Year’s Resolutions? The Truth Told by Location Data

The transition into the New Year sees some of the most significant shifts in consumer behavior. It’s the end of the holiday season and the beginning of a new year, which often means making resolutions to improve and change our lives. But just how much does the change in year actually change consumers’ physical-world behaviors? We analyzed Placed location data to find out how the New Year is impacting where people go. The results we uncovered might surprise you.

 

By aggregating and normalizing data collected from Placed Panels, we were able to determine the places people were more and less likely to visit based on the category’s share of place.  Category share of place is defined as the proportion of visits to a place during January 1 – 14, 2013 compared to the proportion of visits in December 2012.

 

Here’s a look at the results:

 

  • In January, Religious Centers captured 70% more share of place compared to December, which one could hypothesize is influenced by people resolving to be more active in their religious communities in 2013.
  • The quintessential resolution to get fit caused Gyms & Fitness Centers to increase their share of place by 23% in the first two weeks of January.
    • The YMCA, Planet Fitness and Gold’s Gym saw the largest relative gains in visits during the start of the New Year.
  • Not only were people resolving to take better care of themselves in the New Year, but they were also more likely to take care of their vehicles. Share of visits to retailers specializing in automotive (excluding dealers) increased by 14% in the New Year.
  • Surprisingly, Restaurants, including Fast Food, accounted for a slightly higher share of place in January as diet resolutions seemed to do little in affecting restaurant behavior.
  • Some of steepest drops in share of place among Shopping categories included:
    • Supermarkets & Groceries:  -8%
    • Computers and Electronics:  -14%
    • Discount & Wholesale Stores: -24%
    • Department Stores: -30%
    • Clothing and Accessories:  -43%
  • Perhaps as a result of too many holiday parties and more health-conscious resolutions, the Arts, Entertainment and Nightlife category, which includes visits to bars, clubs, etc., decreased its share of place by 26% in January.

Location Data New Year's Resolutions

 

This rich location information into consumers’ actual physical-world behavior gives companies new competitive intelligence to gauge performance against their entire industry and specific competitors. For instance, Kroger could determine if a decline in store traffic in January is an industry trend or isolated to their stores. Knowing this can fundamentally change their approach to driving store traffic and increasing sales.

 

Further, understanding the ebbs and flows of consumer behavior creates actionable insights for retailers. The 14% uptick in activity to automotive stores (non-dealers) identifies an opportunity for retailers such as Walmart, Costco, and Sears to capture share of place by strategically running promotions for their auto services and supplies.

 

Placed is changing the way location data is understood by providing transparency into the migratory patterns of consumers. With this intelligence, companies can better understand trends within their industries, gauge performance against specific competitors and look for new opportunities to leverage shifts in consumer behavior to drive people into stores and through the checkout lines – helping marketers uncover new sources of revenue in the New Year.

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