Cold weather put a chill on retail revenue in February

 
March 6, 2014

Retail analytics firm Euclid has released its monthly retail benchmark report to analyze shopper activity and behavior during the month of February. This month's report measured data from tens of millions of domestic shopping sessions to reveal that shopper activity cooled off in February as a result of extremely cold weather across the country. Based on the findings, Euclid asserts that these metrics illustrate a weak outlook for industry revenues, estimating general merchandise, apparel, furniture and other (GAFO) retail sales grew by a modest 0.7 percent year-over-year.

Overall, retailers did well to keep shoppers engaged in physical stores during a month that typically sees less interest in robust browsing, yet consumers kept nonessential trips to a minimum during spells of cold weather.

Here are some of Euclid's top findings in this month’s report around standard traffic metrics:

  • Shopper traffic declined three percent compared to the same month last year, as visits were negatively impacted cold weather and storms across much of the country for the majority of the month.
  • Storefront conversion was up nearly one percent as a result of the heavily promotional environment and depressed outside activity.
  • Bounce rate increased two percent from last year as more shopping trips were quick and focused, but overall shopping session duration was in line with 2013.

Shoppers also behaved differently around February's two holidays: Presidents' Day and Valentine's Day. The best shopping day of the month was Monday February 24th, which saw the best in-store shopper engagement — average duration was greater than 25 minutes. The worst day of the month was Wednesday the 19th, which saw a significant slowdown in activity following the long Presidents’ Day holiday weekend and was plagued by particularly low storefront conversion and a high bounce rate.

Valentine's Day did not have nearly the positive impact on shopping activity this year compared to last year. Cold, stormy weather and the growing ease of online fulfillment drove an increasing amount of Valentine's Day related shopping to online e-tailers and away from the physical store, resulting in 10 percent less store traffic year-over-year for the week preceding the holiday.

To view the complete findings, download the full report on shopper activity for the month of February here.


Topics: Consumer Behavior , Marketing


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