Four Ways to Use Foot Traffic Data for Commercial Real Estate Market Research

Get data for any location

Start your search

There has been a huge shift in the commercial real estate (CRE) market over the past two years. Many downtowns remain deserted, as the occupancy rates of their highrises remain low due to remote and hybrid work arrangements. Conversely, suburban, exurban and rural areas have seen an influx of residents who relocated when remote work became an option. This dynamic brings new challenges for retailers and others looking for the right location for their storefront.

While understanding traditional metrics, such as foot traffic and market demand, remains key, today’s data looks much different from that of just a few years ago. Although the use of location analytics in the CRE industry is not new, the accuracy and timeliness of the location datasets the insights are based on are more important than ever given the change in how people live and work today.

Using advanced foot traffic data derived from location analytics along with other CRE data allows companies to gain actionable insights into market trends. More specifically, foot traffic data can be used for CRE research as it shares details around consumer activity, helps match clients to the best location for their business and can compare the potential performance of different locations.

Location analytics can identify the best location for a retail space based on the needs of each tenant. Commercial property managers are able to demonstrate to potential lessees the demographics of the population that frequents a specific area, how many similar businesses are within an X-mile radius and other data that will influence sales and revenue. For lessees, this data can reassure business owners that the location will attract their target buyers and patrons. For property owners and managers, providing transparent information regarding the storefront can result in longer-term leases and reduce tenant churn.

To illustrate the value of location intelligence for CRE property managers and lessees, here are four ways to use foot traffic data for market research:

1. Determine Market Demand

The most important factor in determining how and where a retail business should grow is  understanding market demand.

The most successful property owners and managers seek to match services and products offered by retail tenants to consumer needs. While demographic data can identify ideal customers based on factors such as income or marital status, it often does not fully reflect consumer preferences and interests.

Combining demographic data with actual customer movement data from the area can help fill these gaps as it creates a 360° view of the ideal customer, with insight into their interests and preferences based on where they choose to spend their time and money. From there, a predictive model can be built to show exactly how many core customers live in a specific area and their potential value to a retail store or restaurant. This profile can also predict the projected revenue of a new location, which gives retailers the opportunity to compare locations not just by amenities, but on earning potential as well.

2. Understand Consumer Activities

Since investing in a new business or location is a significant financial commitment, it can be a very costly mistake if the wrong location is picked. Historical market trends play a major role in site selection. Observing changes in consumer behavior, including the past performance of other nearby businesses and lessees of a specific site, provides insight into the viability of a specific location.

Communities experience constant shifts in social and business dynamics, which all impact real estate prices. Compiled foot traffic data with benchmarks on consumer activity can act as a compass to show what’s likely to come.

3. Analyzing the Competitive Market

Similarly, undertaking a thorough understanding of a retailer’s competition, especially the habits and interests of their customers, can provide developers with a competitive edge.

Knowing how competitors are moving gives CRE property managers the knowledge to help prospective lessees understand how they could be impacted by competitors. For example, a major competitor might be trying to acquire their own customers with a new marketing campaign or fresh product offers. An analysis of the competitive market can result in a proactive campaign to help counteract the competition’s overall strategy.

Ready to Get Started?

Book a meeting with a location data expert now.

Schedule a Meeting

4. Go Where the People Are

Location intelligence can also help identify and predict movement patterns. By determining the places that people frequent or where they are permanently relocating to, CRE owners and managers can determine which areas of the country make for smart investments by developers. To understand the movement patterns of the Great Relocation, we looked at the counties that gained and lost the most population since the beginning of the pandemic.

The 10 counties that gained the most population since the start of the pandemic are:

  1. Kent County, RI
  2. Worcester County, MA
  3. Canyon County, ID
  4. Cheshire County, NH
  5. Ocean County, NJ
  6. Kent County, DE
  7. Utah County, UT
  8. Kennebec County, ME
  9. Washington County, UT
  10. Cass County, ND

The 10 counties that lost the most population since the start of the pandemic are:

  1. Cook County, IL
  2. King County, WA
  3. Los Angeles County, CA
  4. Chittenden County, VT
  5. Johnson County, KS
  6. Cumberland County, ME
  7. Providence County, RI
  8. Suffolk County, MA
  9. Fairfield County, CT
  10. Multnomah County, OR

For commercial real estate property owners looking to build their portfolios, identifying markets ripe for investment through data-driven analytics is a smart strategy. For retailers looking to establish or expand their businesses, the same insight can indicate whether a site is likely to succeed or serve as a warning sign.

Overall, location intelligence can help with all facets of commercial real estate. This data can help commercial real estate companies compare potential sites, match clients to the right location, and understand consumer activity. This increases a CRE property owner’s or manager’s chances of matching the right site with the right lessee and meeting the needs of residents and visitors, resulting in better outcomes for all.

To learn more about how to use location intelligence in your business, book a meeting with us today.


No items found.

Book a Meeting

Meet with us and put Unacast’s data to the test.
bird's eye view of the city