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In-person retail back, with emphasis on value

woman with shopping bags
Foot traffic to shopping destinations was up 15% in the third quarter compared to a year ago.

In-person shopping is back with a vengeance.

That’s according to a report from location intelligence provider Gravy Analytics, which found that foot traffic to shopping destinations was 15% higher during the third quarter of 2022 compared to the year-ago period.  Department stores saw the biggest (49%) increases in foot traffic during the period, followed by outlet malls (38%) and malls (37%).

Data from Gravy’s “Q3 Consumer Trends Report” also found that shoppers seem to be doing more of their shopping at wholesale retailers such as Costco and Sam's Club. Compared to the third quarter of 2021,  foot traffic to Sam's Club, Costco, and BJ's Wholesale was at least 25% higher this year, indicating inflation is having a deep impact on the grocery category, the report said.


The entertainment category also saw substantial increases in foot traffic, according to the report.  Visits to both general entertainment and nightlife venues were up 18% and 11%, respectively, the third quarter compared to last year. Visits to arenas and stadiums increased by 90%.

Visits to arenas and stadiums increased by 90%. Foot traffic to lower-key entertainment venues also rebounded, with bowling alleys (79%) and movie theaters (65%) bringing in far more consumers in the third quarter compared to the same period last year.

While most outdoor venues like parks and wilderness areas experienced high foot traffic during the pandemic as consumers sought activities that allowed them to get outside in a safe and socially distant way, the same can't be said now. Foot traffic to outdoor recreation venues fell by more than 19% in the third quarter,

"With the world open again, consumers are increasingly seeking out live entertainment and shopping in-person compared to last year," said Jeff White, founder and CEO of Gravy Analytics. "Consumers are still prioritizing where they spend their money, like at wholesale retailers, and we can expect that to continue while inflation remains high. We also found that areas that thrived during the pandemic, like parks and outdoor athletic centers, are seeing lower levels of traffic as other indoor entertainment options and leisure activities have reopened.”

Office Spaces

This year, many companies began implementing return to office policies, and insights from Gravy's report suggest that workers are slowly but surely returning to traditional office spaces. In the third quarter, foot traffic to office buildings was 7% higher than Q3 2021, while visits to general business services were up by 19%. 

Orlando, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., all saw at least 35% more visits to business venues during the quarter. But New York City, one of the first markets to see foot traffic returning to office locations following COVID-19, grew by only 12%, signaling that this area is slowing down in terms of returning to the office.

For more information on Gravy Analytics' research, download the full report.

About Gravy Analytics

Where people go and why tells the story of our world. Founded in 2011, Gravy Analytics is the enterprise location technology company providing actionable intelligence to businesses. Using its patented technology, the company brings data about people, places, and events together to understand human mobility, helping companies enhance their sales and marketing strategies and optimize business operations. Today, the company's intelligence powers leading-edge solutions for a wide range of industries—from advertising to market research, financial services to supply chain risk management—that rely on knowing how people, products, and materials move throughout the world. For more information, please visit

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