In fact, Target is outpacing Walmart when it comes to customer visits, while both retailers are facing ongoing challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Walmart saw visits down 2.5% in November, up 0.3% in December last year and down 3.1% in January 2022. That’s compared to the same months in 2019 and 2021. Walmart’s record was impressive compared to the greater retail industry, with far more limited declines and an actual visit gain in December, according to Placer.ai.
“The minimal declines in November and January are perhaps even more important,” Placer.ai reported. “Though the retailer lost out on Thanksgiving traffic completely, and January visits were heavily impacted by Omicron, the overall effect was fairly limited.”
The data points to Walmart’s success in mitigating the challenging times––and the retailer’s strategy of extending its holiday shopping season earlier in the year with sales and special offers beginning in October. Visits were up 5.3% in October.
Target’s figures were even more impressive, with visits up 3.8% in November, 5.2% in December and 6.2% in January compared to those same months in 2019 and 2020.
“These metrics were all the more impressive considering the retailer faced the same combination of challenges as Walmart and others,” Placer.ai reported. “Supply chain, labor shortages, COVID, the loss of Thanksgiving and more meant that the season could have been considered successful even if visits had been slightly down.”
Both retailers saw visits rise year over year, underscoring their abilities to achieve success even as shopper behaviors change. In addition, visits have returned to normal or gone up for both retailers, and the spread of the visits has not changed much since January 2019, prior to the pandemic.
“The clear takeaway is that the two retail giants do not appear to be on any sort of direct collision course, and instead seem to be finding unique ways to complement each other for the wider consumer audience,” Placer.ai reported.