Location Targeting Presents Opportunity to Capitalize on Growing Memorial Day Spending

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Memorial Day weekend has never been on par with Black Friday from a retail perspective, but a new report released by Vistar Media and MFour points to a sharp increase in expected spending over the holiday weekend, as consumers go out in search of deals and in-store promotions.

The new report, released by the geospatial technology company Vistar Media and the mobile research and location analytics company MFour, is based on a survey of 1,000 consumers conducted last month. The survey leveraged MFour’s Path-2-Purchase platform, collecting information about travel plans, purchase intentions, shopping preferences, and location affinity.

With eight-in-10 U.S. adults now planning to spend an average of $486 over the holiday weekend, Vistar and MFour found that Memorial Day weekend has become one of the most popular shopping holidays of the year. The survey also shows a 50% increase in spending over Memorial Day from 2016, with 93% of consumers planning to shop in-store and just 7% expecting to make purchases “mostly or only” online.

“There’s so much talk today about the threat of e-commerce on local retail, yet this study contradicts just that,” says Eugenie Chen, director of analytics at Vistar.

Consumers say they expect to spend a surprisingly high amount this Memorial Day weekend, with men averaging $608 and women averaging $397.

That data point, in particular, might be better explained by looking at the top spending categories. Vistar found that men were nearly two times more likely to shop for electronics—which often have a high price point—than women. Meanwhile, clothing/accessories was the top category overall, with women’s apparel ranking especially high. Consumers between the ages of 18 and 24 were more likely to shop at stores selling clothing and accessories, while consumers between the ages of 25 and 55 were more likely to shop at home improvement stores.

“Consumers planning to shop for electronics intend to spend quite a lot of money, upwards of $600. This is relevant not only to electronics retailers, but [also] as an example of how you can use someone’s shopping behavior and movement patterns to define an audience,” Chen says. “In this case, we see people shopping at electronics stores as likely to be a high-value, high-spend audience.”

As far as location is concerned, Vistar found that consumers are most likely to travel five to 10 miles to shop over Memorial Day weekend. Just 12% of consumers said they plan to travel more than 20 miles. That insight, in particular, could be useful to retailers as they plan their proximity-based marketing campaigns. Consumers tend to travel less when they shop at home improvement stores, so retailers and brands in that vertical should consider reducing the target radius around store locations to 10 miles or fewer.

The top factors affecting where consumers will go to shop are price, convenience of location, sales and promotions, and the variety of products offered by the store. Interestingly, Chen points out that brand loyalty won’t really be playing a factor this holiday weekend.

With Memorial Day playing a larger role in retailers’ annual earnings, and with so many consumers going to brick-and-mortar stores to make their purchases over the long weekend, Chen says it’s essential for marketers to reach people when they’re out and also during the timeframe leading up to and during the holiday.

“The ubiquity of out-of-home and mobile advertising provides brands the opportunity to reach target consumers with relevant messaging while they are on the path-to-purchase as well as at their point-of-purchase,” she says. “Looking at how consumers plan to shop and where they are spending their time directly informs where marketers should activate DOOH and mobile media to reach their targets as they move throughout their day.”

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.