Two weeks ago in our Engage newsletter we featured a look at the organic website traffic trends for shopping centers across the country, showing the pandemic’s effects from the beginning - starting mid-march 2020, to the low point on Easter Sunday, and the subsequent rise as states began to announce the reopening of non-essential retail. Since that time, additional states have announced reopening, so it’s time for an update.
For our US Shopping Center clients, organic website traffic experienced an 85% week over week increase during the week ending May 6th. Now, two weeks on, we continue to observe surges in shopping center website traffic across the country.
This week (beginning May 18), we’ve seen organic website traffic increase to levels 25% higher than pre-COVID average weekday traffic. Typically, we would not see weekday spikes like this unless associated with a shopping holiday. We believe this unusual rise is an indication of strong shopper interest in returning to the shopping center and increased curiosity in whether the shopping center - and specific stores - are open. Top content this week includes Directory Page, Store Pages, News and Hours.
It is important that shopping centers maintain accurate information about which stores are open and what phase of opening they are in (we know this is very difficult\!). Shoppers may not be returning to centers in large numbers just yet, but they are definitely interested in more information.
While most states have reopened to some extent, some show larger gains in organic shopper visits than others. In most cases, states that remain closed or under heavy restrictions show less organic user traffic (ie, Delaware, Washington DC, New Jersey).
Stay tuned as we continue to monitor web traffic, shopper interest and its effects on the industry.
*Note that retail shopping availability and capacity to shop on premise varies state to state and county to county within states. State Reopening data sourced from: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/states-reopen-map-coronavirus.html