Navigating Consumer Behavior in 2024: The Beat of Boston’s Foot Traffic

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Boston is a city teeming with history, industry, and, as it turns out, a particularly distinctive pattern of consumer behavior. We looked at foot traffic across the city of Boston in 2023, and as it turns out, it's more than just the iconic Fanueil Hall and red-bricked Freedom Trail that bring in visitors. Our data provides a deep dive into this year's consumer trends and helps paint a picture of Boston’s role as a local and regional hub.

Exploring Boston Consumer Behavior Through Foot Traffic

Studying Boston foot traffic data reveals consumer behavior distinct from the U.S.'s other top 25 metropolitan areas. Visitors here travel a median distance of 21 miles, compared to the mean median distance of 17 miles in those other cities. Boston is busiest in the afternoon, between noon and 6PM, when 38% of visits occur. While less busy in the morning and busier in the evening than the average across top U.S. cities, this trend speaks to Boston’s role as a later-in-the-day destination.

The city's heartbeat is as unique as the trajectories of its visitors. In Boston, 50% of place visits are to restaurants and 16% to outdoor or recreational areas, painting a portrait of a city that values both leisure and culinary experiences. It is less surprising then that only 3% of visits are to shopping spots and 1% to entertainment destinations, signaling that Boston consumers prioritize gastronomic delights over retail cravings, and outdoor activities over indoor entertainment.

Foot Traffic Caters to the Connoisseurs

Weekends in Boston see a spike in foot traffic to hotels, arts, nightlife, and restaurant venues. With 25% higher traffic at nightlife venues and 16% more dinnertime excursions, Boston’s social scene doesn't wait for the weekend—though it does intensify. Comparable cities, by contrast, experience significantly larger spikes over weekends, hinting at an eclectic and perennially inviting nature that's inherently Bostonian.

Boston's distinctive consumer behavior suggests it's a haven for coffee lovers, health nuts, and beauty buffs. The local ambiance and offerings seem to cater to a population that both appreciates and participates in a vibrant culture of experience and wellness.

Boston Consumers in 2024

2024 in Boston may not herald the next Tea Party, but our consumer data underscores the city's energetic flow as a destination and a place of community. These intriguing and sustained visit patterns reveal the ways Boston is much more than just a geographical location—it’s a lifestyle, a cultural oasis, and a dynamic arena that exemplifies the unique cadence of the "Hub of the Universe."

For More City Foot Traffic Insights

For real estate investors and businesses, understanding city foot traffic is at the heart of identifying upcoming consumer trends and market opportunities. For the data curious, our City Foot Traffic dashboard offers a snapshot of Boston's visitor patterns. For those needing a more comprehensive overview, our extensive report, "What Makes A Great Downtown," offers even deeper insights into the ebb and flow of urban life.

Talk to Unacast

A leader in the location intelligence space, Unacast offers solutions tailored to meet businesses at every phase of their data analytics journey. With a reputation for accuracy, transparency, and innovation, Unacast's location insights platform stands out for its capability to transform raw location data into actionable insights. This lets organizations across industries make more informed decisions, understand consumer behavior, and ultimately drive business growth. Whether used in urban planning, to refine retail strategies, or to support investment decisions, Unacast’s flexible suite of software, APIs, and location data makes it easy to get the insights you need. 

If you’re interested in learning how to use location intelligence to supercharge your business, speak with one of our location data experts today. We'd love to show you how Unacast can facilitate data-driven decision-making in your organization. Book a meeting here.


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