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Foot traffic trends for February: Planet Fitness gyms up, AMC theaters down

8 months ago by James Mattone in Features, Markets, People
dima_sidelnikov, iStock

After facing a decline in "resolutioners," Planet Fitness ($NYSE:PLNT) beat out 41 other businesses in "were here" count, a Facebook ($NASDAQ:FB) metric that helps track foot traffic for businesses with Facebook pages.

During the month of February, Planet Fitness saw a 2.81% growth in foot traffic by way of 492,608 status updates and other Facebook posts at gym locations around the country. This could either mean that nearly half a million people checked in and had the world check them out at the gym, or there is only one person on Facebook who really, really, REALLY loves setting off the lunk alarm at the judgement-free gym.

That amount of growth made Planet Fitness the biggest winner for foot traffic growth last month against all companies Thinknum tracks with more than 5 million "were here" posts.

Coming in second was somewhere that gym goers could go to right after pumping some iron in the morning: IHOP ($NYSE:DIN). The International House of Pancakes saw a 116,382 posts about people visiting the restaurant in February, making for a 1.47% in measured foot traffic.

In third was the happiest (and most commercialized) place on earth: Walt Disney World ($NYSE:DIS). During a month that featured a President's Day holiday break, Disney saw a "were here" count increase of 1.08%. Its sister park in Paris also made the top-10 out of the 42 businesses with millions of "were here" posts, as it saw 0.78% growth last month.

Username Were Here Count (Mar.) Were Here Count (Feb.) Change in Count % Change
planetfitness 18,042,907 17,550,299 492,608 2.81%
IHOP 8,047,358 7,930,976 116,382 1.47%
WaltDisneyWorld 7,457,059 7,377,038 80,021 1.08%
daveandbusters 8,940,346 8,850,223 90,123 1.02%
IKEAUSA 7,810,347 7,735,559 74,788 0.97%
longhornsteakhouse 8,682,685 8,603,065 79,620 0.93%
thecheesecakefactory 12,215,254 12,105,353 109,901 0.91%
texasroadhouse 22,188,028 21,989,062 198,966 0.90%
LifeTime.Life 5,723,593 5,676,056 47,537 0.84%
DisneylandParisfr 6,315,110 6,266,038 49,072 0.78%

In terms of raw change in "were here" count, Planet Fitness still took the number one spot on the list, while Texas Roadhouse ($NASDAQ:TXRH) snuck into the second spot with Facebook users making nearly 200,000 statuses while at the chain.

Username Were Here Count (Mar.) Were Here Count (Feb.) Change in Count % Change
planetfitness 18,042,907 17,550,299 492,608 2.81%
texasroadhouse 22,188,028 21,989,062 198,966 0.90%
McDonalds 33,890,815 33,694,545 196,270 0.58%
OliveGarden 28,506,898 28,324,704 182,194 0.64%
hilton 24,492,809 24,319,609 173,200 0.71%
RegalMovies 44,079,572 43,917,781 161,791 0.37%
cinemark 26,233,352 26,101,947 131,405 0.50%
applebees 27,726,301 27,606,510 119,791 0.43%
redlobster 17,920,727 17,801,315 119,412 0.67%
IHOP 8,047,358 7,930,976 116,382 1.47%


AMC had a foot traffic... Drop?

Outside of the Planet Fitness resurgence, the other surprising figure found among businesses with over 5 million in "were here" count was the apparent drop for AMC Theaters ($NYSE:AMC).

According to the data, there were apparently negative posts from people at the business during the month of February, which is downright impossible.

Username Were Here Count (Mar.) Were Here Count (Feb.) Number of People Added % Change
amctheatres 28,533,656 28,533,694 -38 0.00%
chipotle 6,056,832 6,049,794 7,038 0.12%
Starbucks 37,582,214 37,510,285 71,929 0.19%
panerabread 8,090,972 8,065,385 25,587 0.32%
innout 8,326,212 8,299,654 26,558 0.32%
24HourFitness 25,483,617 25,395,954 87,663 0.35%
premiumoutlets 7,624,908 7,597,460 27,448 0.36%
RegalMovies 44,079,572 43,917,781 161,791 0.37%
walmart 20,848,185 20,770,935 77,250 0.37%
RedRobin 10,944,623 10,902,028 42,595 0.39%

Stranger still is the overall year-to-date chart for AMC. According to this metric, this decline has happened since the start of the new year.

The two plausible explanations are either that posts about AMC Theaters are either being deleted by individual users, or Facebook is checking back at location data and retroactively removing posts from the count that really weren't at an AMC theater. This wouldn't be malicious, by the way, as there are definitely some theaters and multiplexes that are close by to other businesses, and sometimes, location data gets a bit trickier with multiple businesses stacked on top of each other.

One last insight we can gain is that, given that rival Regal ($LON:CINE) also had a slow amount of growth in February, maybe this past month of movie releases didn't go over so well with audiences. Not that we are movie critics, but with Alita: Battle Angel, LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, and How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World being the highlights... It may be possible that people decided to keep their $30 they would have spent on a ticket and popcorn and stay home this past month.

What is "were here" count?

In 2012, Facebook launched its "were here" count for businesses with Facebook pages. It measures how many check-ins and mobile device location shares that brand has accrued over time via status updates, selfies, comments, etc. It's a more accurate measure of foot traffic than voluntary check-in data, because it also includes things such as selfies and status posts that match up with a business' location.

Join the businesses who have begun to edge out competitors by scouring the web for alternative data.

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James Mattone

James is the Associate Editor at Thinknum Media, mainly covering video games, food, and tech news, but not afraid to head into Sephora or beauty brands if need be...

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