Here’s What Dave & Buster’s Foot Traffic Reveals About Consumers’ Entertainment Preferences in 2023

Get data for any location

Start your search

As consumer trends continue to ebb and flow, the ways that consumers seek out entertainment have shifted notably this year. As the pandemic inched closer to its end and pandemic restrictions were lifted, consumers grappled not only with post-pandemic economic disruptions like inflation but also pent-up demand for entertainment and in-person consumerism. As a result, consumers began to seek convenient and affordable ways to find entertainment, and they began to reshape their attitudes toward shopping and dining out in 2022. These activities became opportunities for easy entertainment and social interaction—a reinvigorated need of the average consumer post-pandemic.

Following the post-pandemic wave of bustling in-person activity, many consumers tightened up their wallets during Q4 2022 and then began indulging in discretionary spending once more in Q1 of this year. So, as consumer trends shift once more, how are consumers finding entertainment today? Moreover, are popular entertainment venues like Dave & Buster’s attracting consumers in today’s climate of fluctuating consumer preferences and high inflation?

Foot Traffic to Dave & Buster’s and Competitors

To learn more, we analyzed year-over-year consumer foot traffic data for Dave & Buster’s, alongside Topgolf and Bowlero—key players in the realm of in-person entertainment. On top of that, we took a look at consumer foot traffic to the popular video game and consumer electronics retailer GameStop to learn more about current consumer trends and preferences.

Overall, all of the brands we examined experienced similar foot traffic trends from Q2 2022 to Q1 2023. They experienced increases in Q3 2022 and declines in Q4 2022, all followed by slight increases in Q1 2023. However, in Q2 2023, foot traffic to GameStop locations continued to rise, while the other brands saw significant drops in visitors. Bowlero saw the most substantial drop in year-over-year foot traffic, ending Q2 2023 with a 56% decline. Dave & Buster’s experienced a 39% decline, and Topgolf saw a 30% decline. While these three brands experienced significant drops in year-over-year foot traffic, GameStop was the only brand that saw a slight increase, ending Q2 2023 with a 6% rise year-over-year.

So, what could be causing this stark difference in foot traffic trends?

Ready to Get Started?

Book a meeting with a foot traffic data expert now.

Schedule a Meeting

Entertainment & Price

The dramatic difference in foot traffic between entertainment chains like Dave & Buster’s and a retail chain like GameStop suggests that price could be a defining factor. GameStop is an entertainment-focused retailer, where consumers purchase games to play at home as often as they’d like. On the other hand, Dave & Buster’s, Topgolf, and Bowlero require consumers to play games in person at the venue and pay for each game they play. Consumers may prefer to buy video games and other equipment from GameStop because it provides entertainment that they can enjoy multiple times for a single price. In comparison, visiting places like Dave & Buster’s, Topgolf, and Bowlero to play games in person can be more expensive because they have to pay each time they play, and most consumers typically buy food or drinks on top of the game costs.

Current economic challenges like high inflation could be affecting consumer foot traffic trends as many are prioritizing saving money for essential goods, which could limit their budget for pricier leisure activities like arcades, bowling, and more. So not only are consumers finding a renewed zest for in-person shopping, but it appears that they’re also prioritizing in-home entertainment, making a perfect storm for chains like GameStop.

2023: The Year of Electronic In-Home Entertainment

Shopping and dining out continue to function as easy entertainment options for consumers, but brands like GameStop offer entertainment that provides lasting value. In 2023, consumers are spending thoughtfully and visiting entertainment locations that can provide the most bang for their buck. It’s clear that high inflation continues to impact consumers seeking entertainment, and as this trend continues, we’re likely to see more foot traffic to GameStop locations and similar specialty retailers, which have already shown resilience.

Earlier this year, foot traffic to Apple Store locations saw significant year-over-year growth, along with similar competitors like Best Buy. It seems consumer electronics have been in demand this year, so it makes sense that in 2023, GameStop stood out in the entertainment category with increased year-over-year foot traffic over entertainment chains like Dave & Buster’s. Although many consumers are spending more time outside of the home post-pandemic, they’re still looking for budget-conscious ways to find entertainment through video games and electronics.

Want to see how foot traffic data can be used 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