2020 Retail Category Winners and Losers

Posted by Sam Lowder on Feb 23, 2021 2:30:22 PM

2020 Retail Category Winners and Losers We all know by now that the year 2020 was challenging for many businesses for a variety of reasons. With many states laying out restrictions, some businesses were thrust into e-commerce on zero notice, while other businesses were forced to think outside the box on how to reach their customers in new ways.

The result: some businesses struggled, while others were able to find success, even amid such a strange environment.

We decided to take a look at the winners and losers of 2020, but a few notes first:

  1. We’re sharing retail categories rather than retail names. Why? First, there are many nuances behind a net increase or decrease in number of locations. Did a business temporarily close locations? How does that impact their overall net number? Second, we feel there is too much behind every retailer’s overall net increase/decrease to simply create a list and not dig into the “why” behind it for every retailer name. We don’t want to let numbers speak for themselves when there is a lot behind those numbers.
  2. This data comes from our data partner, ChainXY. Note that we’re sharing number of locations in their data on January 2020 compared to number of locations in their data for the same chains that were in their database January 2020 again on January 2021. So, if a chain was added to their database since January 2020, it isn’t listed here. In other words, new chains founded in 2020 will not be included.
  3. Although we’re not naming names or +/- of locations, we’ll give a few examples of the retailers in some of the categories for context.

Here are our retail categories ranked from biggest increase (in terms of % change in locations) to biggest decrease between January 2020 to January 2021:

Biggest increases

Category

Jan 2020

Jan 2021

% Change

Home Improvement

30,983

34,475

11.3%

Car Wash

1,076

1,191

10.7%

Healthcare

43,674

47,353

8.4%

Dental

6,459

6,765

4.7%

Storage

8,536

8,926

4.6%

Other

3,199

3,341

4.4%

Discount Store

35,220

36,673

4.1%

Ag Equipment and Supplies

6,830

7,098

3.9%

Fuel/Convenience Store

101,414

103,681

2.2%

Pet Supplies/Services

10,075

10,238

1.6%

Grocery Store

27,640

28,075

1.6%

Hotel

34,037

34,458

1.2%

Optical and Vision

7,655

7,744

1.2%

Specialty Retail

22,058

22,210

0.7%

Real Estate

8,964

8,987

0.3%

Restaurant - Other

11,614

11,622

0.1%

Automotive

97,676

97,709

0.03%

 

And now for the biggest decreases:

Category

Jan 2020

Jan 2021

% Change

Vitamins and Nutrition

11,252

6,664

-40.8%

Department Store

10,754

9,574

-11.0%

Clothing and Apparel

43,669

39,790

-8.9%

Hair, Skin and Nails

22,103

20,344

-8.0%

Other Food/Beverage

6,564

6,062

-7.6%

Consumer Electronics

64,767

59,895

-7.5%

Fitness and Gyms

24,777

22,918

-7.5%

Restaurant - Casual

44,433

42,428

-4.5%

Restaurant - Fine Dining

1,508

1,446

-4.1%

Hobby/Toys/Crafts/Books

7,940

7,649

-3.7%

Cosmetics and Beauty

12,160

11,756

-3.3%

Coffee Shop

29,001

28,100

-3.1%

Theaters/Cinema

2,518

2,447

-2.8%

Senior Living

6,954

6,763

-2.7%

Pharmacy/Drug Store

30,602

29,772

-2.7%

General Merchandise

3,080

2,997

-2.7%

Footwear/Shoes

14,333

13,976

-2.5%

Restaurant - Quick Service

140,967

137,807

-2.2%

Banks And Financial

42,501

41,646

-2.0%

Cannabis Retail

58

57

-1.7%

Home Specialty

21,883

21,573

-1.4%

Restaurant - Fast Casual

14,414

14,224

-1.3%

Loan and Pawn

3,921

3,873

-1.2%

Office Supply/Services

73,307

72,437

-1.2%

Supercenter

5,765

5,701

-1.1%

Education

13,813

13,719

-0.7%

Sports And Recreation

6,978

6,962

-0.2%

 

A few observations about winners and losers:

  • Home Improvement was a strong category between January 2020 and 2021, which echoes the news we’ve heard all year: many used quarantine as an opportunity to work on long neglected home improvement projects. Benjamin Moore was at the very top of the net increases list, as was True Value Hardware.
  • Healthcare also saw a big increase in locations, which is probably not a surprise to many. Tower Health, Advent Health, Carolinas HealthCare System and St. Elizabeth Healthcare were among the names with net increases throughout 2020.
  • Restaurants struggled—no surprise there either. The only restaurant category that stayed relatively stable was Restaurants – Other, which likely includes restaurants like standalone smoothie/juice bars that probably rely less on in-person dining than many other restaurant types. In fact, at a quick glance at the list of chains, many even had a net add of locations (Pressed Juicery, Clean Juice) or no change at all (Juice It Up!).
  • Vitamins and Nutrition took a big hit, which can largely be attributed to two major chains that struggled: GNC and Weight Watchers. GNC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June 2020 and Weight Watchers made headlines for its mass firing in May 2020 (although recent news shares that the company is slowly reopening some locations).
  • Department Stores struggled, which isn’t surprising, given that many are mall anchors (and many malls were closed or operated at a reduced capacity).
  • Fitness and Gyms were hit hard as well, as many probably experienced personally. Large chains like 24 Hour and Snap made headlines for closing dozens of stores (but again…temporarily? Perhaps…).

It’s been an interesting 12 months, and we can all learn a lot from the businesses that have succeeded this year as well as those that have failed or struggled. One thing is certain: the more your business can do to adapt quickly and the better you understand your customers, the easier times like these will be. There’s no guarantee of success, but if you can take data like this, look for patterns and learn from it, that’s what it’s all about.

If SiteSeer can help, whether through our site selection software or our professional services in everything from forecasting to market planning to modeling, contact us for a demo or consultation!

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