Here’s How Marketers Can Capitalize on Valentine’s Day Foot Traffic Trends

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Are dinner and drinks passé on the most romantic night of the year? According to a new analysis of Valentine’s Day foot traffic trends conducted by the location intelligence company Foursquare, movie theaters are the place to be. Theaters see an incredible 255% lift in foot traffic on Valentine’s Day, compared to the week before — and 64% of moviegoers opt to eat out before or after the show.

Valentine’s Day has become an important holiday for businesses in a number of industries, and also a barometer of consumer confidence. Americans are expected to spend $18.2 billion on the holiday this year, down from the $19.7 billion spent last year, according to the National Retail Federation. While candy, flowers, and jewelry are always popular choices, consumers are spending bigger amounts on meals and experiences, like theater tickets, as well. Thirty-seven percent of consumers plan to spend money on a romantic evening out this Valentine’s, amounting to an anticipated $3.8 billion in spending.

According to Foursquare’s data, 43% of moviegoers eat out before the movies and 36% eat out after the movies. Restaurant chains that are the most popular on Valentine’s Day include Cheesecake Factory, Max Brenner, Johnny Rockets, and P.F Chang’s. The one loser in Foursquare’s analysis seemed to be nightlife venues. Whereas 64% of Valentine’s Day moviegoers visit restaurants before or after their shows, only 23% visit nightlife spots, like bars and clubs.

To arrive at these figures, Foursquare analyzed a subset of the 50 million monthly users of Foursquare City Guide and Foursquare Swarm that visited a movie theater on Valentine’s Day in 2015 or 2016. The company’s analysis focused specifically on Valentine’s Day, noting national restaurant chains that over-indexed for visits by moviegoers.

While it’s always fun to have a peek inside the minds of consumers, Foursquare’s analysis serves a greater purpose for business owners. As Foursquare Present Steven Rosenblatt explains, the company’s location intelligence can provide insight and open up the door to lucrative marketing and advertising opportunities for the entertainment industry, as well as businesses that benefit from movie theater foot traffic, like restaurants and bars.

“Production companies can target potential film-goers by having a better understanding of the consumer path-to-purchase,” he says. “Where do people tend to go before visiting the theaters? And how does moviegoer visit behavior differ by film genre and on different days of the year? Understanding where consumers go can help the entertainment industry learn more about their consumer base, and segment and target them accordingly.”

Rosenblatt says that restaurants, bars, stores, and other venues can also benefit from the increased foot traffic that movie theaters see on Valentine’s Day. For example, restaurants and bars can target potential customers based on their proximity to movie theaters, knowing that a high percentage of those moviegoers are likely to enjoy a meal out after their show on Valentine’s night.

“Restaurants should also consider promoting their venue as an option for before or after a movie,” Rosenblatt says, “since the data shows that people are nearly as likely to grab a bite after as they are before the movie.”

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.