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Spontaneous Summer: How retailers can capitalize on increased tourism and longer stays

Sun’s out, and so are consumers with renewed appetites for out-of-home experiences and retail therapy. Consumer data indicates retail marketers have a window of magnified opportunity to leverage summer travel behaviors to boost in-store traffic and profits.

According to data from Waze user navigations across the platform’s 140+ million active users each month — 2021 trips to retail stores outpaced those in the pre-pandemic summer season of 2019. In the past three years, Waze user navigations to outlet, apparel and convenience stores have consistently peaked in summer months.[1]

Looking ahead, Google survey data from March 2022 supports the twin hypotheses that (1) another influx of summer retail shoppers is on the way, and (2) they’ll be splurging on purchases beyond staple items. Forty-one percent of survey respondents said they’ll shop for apparel during their trip, 42% said they’ll shop for gifts and 19% said they’ll shop for personal care items. Altogether, 73% of surveyed consumers plan to shop in-store during their travels, and 82% anticipate spending the same or more in 2022.[2]

Post-pandemic lifestyle changes have also impacted consumer travel. A Deloitte travel study says 75% of hybrid workers added days to their leisure travels last year as a result of being able to work from anywhere. That’s an added three to six days for 38% of vacationers, with another 6% of travelers extending their vacation by several weeks.[3]

It’s worth noting these potential increases are coming on the heels of a significant bounceback summer for retail. Last summer, year-over-year Waze user navigations to retail locations grew across the board by 30.1%, especially in the fashion category, where they rose 63.6%.[4,5]

Maximizing summer profits with out-of-home, in-car advertising

While summer driver behaviors certainly bode well for retail profits, savvy retailers aren’t about to sit back and hope for the best. Rather, they plan to turn up their digital out-of-home and in-car advertising spend to reach on-the-go consumers before competitors do, according to a recent survey conducted by Retail Dive on behalf of Waze.[6]

When asked to indicate the effectiveness of specific types of advertising for driving in-store traffic, 79.2% of retail brand and agency marketers found in-car advertising effective, with 64% of respondents describing it as “extremely effective” or “very effective.” Additionally, 85.6% said out-of-home advertising (as in billboards, bus ads) is effective, including 67.2% of respondents describing it as “extremely effective” or “very effective.”

From in-car to in-store

With more drivers slated to take summer road trips, Waze Ads presents a unique opportunity to influence in-the-moment decisions for vacationers looking to the navigation app as an essential travel guide. Summer proves to be both a time of higher temperatures and high brand lift on the Waze platform; advertisers using Waze saw a cumulative 61% growth in brand lift from June to August 2021, compared to 38% growth in the other nine months of the year.[7]

“Not only are people poised to get on the road this summer, but they’re going to shop when they get to their destinations,” says Liz Franz, Head of Industry for Retail at Waze. “Retailers who can reach consumers in key moments of influence, like the in-car opportunity presents, are more likely to reap the benefits of increased foot traffic, brand lift and sales.”

Looking to steer summer travelers to your retail locations? Start planning by searching Waze navigation data, learning more about category trends and how fellow retailers have grown revenue with Waze at waze.com/ads.

[1] Waze internal data, 2019-2021
[2] Google consumer survey, March 2022
[3] “How Working From Home Will Permanently Change the Way We Travel.” Bloomberg, 7 February 2022. Accessed 5 May 2022
[4] “Category Trends.” Waze, Accessed 5 April 2022, waze.com/ads/trends, 2022.
[5] “Category Trends.” Waze, Accessed 5 April 2022, waze.com/ads/trends, 2022.
[6] Retail Dive survey conducted on behalf of Waze, April 2022
[7] Waze internal data, 2019–2021

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