April 15, 2020:
Year-over-year transactions per store began to slip on March 6th with single digit percentage drops from the prior year. A week later, wide-spread cancellations of events were announced along with other social-distancing measures. Transaction volume dropped by 10% - 20% for most of the next week. The downward trend continued into the 40% range, reaching a low point on Saturday, March 28th with 64% fewer transactions per store than the same day of the prior year.
The last 10 days (aside from Easter Weekend) have seen noticeable improvement compared to the prior couple of weeks with year-over-year drops ranging from 20% - 30%. On Wednesday, April 15th, perhaps spurred by stimulus money, transactions per store were nearly identical to the prior year – just 1% below 2019 levels.
From what we've seen thus far, the end of March may very well have been the low point for reduced consumer spending in specialty retail stores. Hopefully, restrictions and guidance will begin to be appropriately eased, and consumers will return to more normal spending levels.
April 19, 2020:
Sunday, April 19th actually saw an increase in transactions per store compared to 2019. However, the third Sunday of 2019 was Easter Sunday, so this result is due to unique circumstances with how the year-over-year calendars line up.
With that said, the 9% year-over-year drop for Monday, April 20th is a very positive result. The last 4 weekdays all have a drop of less than 20% compared to last year. While the federal stimulus checks are likely to have played a role in this result, the consumer spending behaviors are nonetheless encouraging.
May 15, 2020:
For the first time, since COVID-19 hit, we saw a positive year-over-year change in transaction volume per store on May 6th— without the support of a financial stimulus. Even though negative volatility persists, we continue to see a steady upward trend in overall transaction volume year-over-year.
May 20, 2020:
On May 19th and 20th, we saw for the first time two back-to-back days of positive growth. We attribute this growth to reopenings occurring across the US, creating consumer confidence, and retailers adjusting and enhancing their business practices by doing things like improving their website and enabling curbside pickup and local delivery.
June 4, 2020:
Business-day transactions are almost back to normal and sometimes surpassing previous year performance. Despite the weekends still being affected by COVID-19, the upward trend continues. Stores are seeing benefits of extra effort invested in finding new ways to meet customers’ needs.
June 11, 2020:
Business-day transactions (in general) have slightly decreased again, yet are sometimes surpassing previous year performance. Despite the weekends still being affected by COVID-19, the upward trend continues. Stores are seeing the benefits of extra effort invested in finding new ways to meet customer’s needs—such as making their business fully available online.
June 18, 2020:
Transaction volume continues to improve, especially for the weekends, despite persisting negative effects from COVID-19. We expect this trend to continue, as stores continue to open and society increasingly goes back to normal activity.
How soon we’ll reach full recovery and growth will depend on how COVID-19 is mitigated as businesses re-open, what health experts recommend, and how government regulations continue to affect business and society.
July 2, 2020:
In late March, transaction volume per store hit rock bottom. Now, it looks like transaction volume recovery is reaching a plateau.
We anticipate that full recovery and growth will depend on 1) how COVID-19 continues to affect the world, and 2) how effectively businesses adapt using innovative services and technologies.
July 24, 2020:
Since COVID-19 hit in late March, we have seen an oscillating pattern of progression and digression in transaction volume per store. However, the good news is that, since hitting rock bottom in late March, the general trend is pointing upward both for transaction volume during business days and the weekends.
As of this week, we have seen the greatest year-over-year growth in transactions per store since the pandemic hit. Due to the oscillating pattern of recovery, and dependency upon how the pandemic is mitigated and controlled, we continue to recommend maximizing a diversity of channels through which to connect and serve your customers (e.g. making your business available online).