August 30, 2018

A complete look at Labor Day’s impact on local business revenue

Today, we’re taking a look at the impact Labor Day has on local businesses, as well as Labor Day Weekend and the week prior to Labor Day. Labor Day may not be a door-buster holiday for every industry, but for a select few, business is booming.

Methodology

Our data science team analyzed the transaction trends for more than 100,000 small businesses in dozens of industry categories across all 365 days of the 2017 year. For this report, we isolated business categories most likely to be impacted by Labor Day, including local:

  • Restaurants 
  • Burger restaurants
  • Beer, wine, & liquor
  • Retail shops
  • Furniture & home goods
  • Gardens & nurseries
  • Landscaping businesses
  • Rental equipment
  • Meat & butcher shops
  • Auto services
  • Car wash
  • Gas stations

Here’s what we learned about consumer spending on Main Street around the Labor Day weekend.

 

Labor Day’s impact on local business revenue

What better place to start our Labor Day analysis than with the holiday itself? Unsurprisingly, the actual holiday doesn’t benefit local business owners much. We often see this trend on other holidays, such as Christmas. Most people aren’t using the actual holiday to shop locally; they’re enjoying a Monday away from work.

Furniture stores, however, are a particular exception. While Labor Day ranks very low for nearly every business category, it happens to be the 3rd-best day for furniture and home goods stores, and in 2017, those businesses saw a 68% increase in daily revenue on Labor Day.


INDUSTRY

DAY RANK /365

REVENUE*
  Restaurants 257 -19%
  Burger Restaurants 313 -15%
  Beer, Wine, & Liquor 267 -29%
  Retail Shops 309 -25%
  Furniture & Home Goods 3 +68%
  Gardens & Nurseries 325 -78%
  Landscaping 315 -82%
  Rental Equipment 309 -67%
  Meat & Butchers 322 -51%
  Auto Services 309 -81%
  Car Wash 274 -15%
  Gas Stations 309 -50%

* compared to the average weekend

 

Bottom line: As with many holidays, Labor Day isn’t a great day for small business sales outside of the furniture and home goods industry, where it’s the 3rd-best day of the year.

Labor Day weekend’s impact on local business revenue

When we expand our analysis to include the weekend, we get a better picture of what really happens on Main Street America as consumers prepare for their last three-day weekend before the year-end holidays. Similar to the trends we saw in our Memorial Day weekend analysis, consumers tend to give certain businesses a boost in weekend profits. For example, the +4% revenue bump local restaurants see isn’t newsworthy or significant, but when we look at the places consumers tend to shop in order to host a barbeque or other typical long-weekend activities, sales increase significantly.

BYOBeer and BYOBeef

  • Beer, Wine, and Liquor stores see a 17% increase in revenue on Labor Day weekend
  • Meat Shops and Butchers see a 26% increase in revenue on Labor Day weekend

DIY-ers

  • Rental equipment businesses see a 41% increase in daily revenue on Labor Day weekend

Home Improvements

  • Landscaping businesses see a 23% increase in revenue on Labor Day weekend
  • Furniture and Home Goods stores see a 32% increase in revenue on Labor Day weekend 

INDUSTRY

WEEKEND REVENUE*

WEEKEND TRANSACTIONS*

WEEKEND PURCHASE PRICE*
  Restaurants +3% +3.1% -0.5%
  Burger Restaurants +4% +3.9% -0.3%
  Beer, Wine, & Liquor +17% +14.8% +1.8%
  Retail Shops +8% +7.0% +1.1%
  Furniture & Home Goods +32% +14.0% +15.4%
  Gardens & Nurseries -9% -11.3% +2.9%
  Landscaping Businesses +23% +8.0% +14.0%
  Rental Equipment +41% +29.7% +8.7%
  Meat & Butchers +26% +17.0% +7.5%
  Auto Services +4% +0.3% +3.9%
  Car Wash -6% -10.6% +5.4%
  Gas Stations +13% +12.0% +1.1%

* compared to the average weekend

Bottom line: When it comes to Labor Day sales, consumers tend to favor businesses that help them tackle weekend projects or businesses that help them kick back and enjoy the last weekend of summer.

Why these three metrics: A business’s daily revenue is comprised of two factors: the number of times people purchase, or transactions, and how much they’re spending per purchase, the purchase price. Taking a three-dimensional look at these metrics, we are able to expose and understand the mechanics that directly impact local business’ average daily revenue with more detail than ever before.

 

The week prior to Labor Day weekend

Let’s expand our view one more time to account for the sales happening in the week leading up to Labor Day.

As with most holidays, the week leading up to the big day is often more substantial than the holiday itself. That holds true for most local businesses, with a few obvious exceptions. We ranked each of the 52 weeks of the year to see how the week leading up to Labor Day compares. Some of the results were quite surprising. Last year, for example, the week leading up to Labor Day was the 5th-best week for local burger restaurants and the 4th-best week for gas stations.

Bottom line: Generally speaking, the week leading up to Labor Day is good for local businesses. How good depends on what industry and market the business serves.


INDUSTRY

WEEK RANK /52

REVENUE*
  Restaurants 36 -5%
  Burger Restaurants 5 +4%
  Beer, Wine, & Liquor 12 +4%
  Retail Shops 21 +9%
  Furniture & Home Goods 7 +15%
  Gardens & Nurseries 36 +5%
  Landscaping 18 +26%
  Rental Equipment 7 +25%
  Meat & Butchers 13 +11%
  Auto Services 8 +23%
  Car Wash 39 -10%
  Gas Stations 4 +21%


* compared to the average weekend

Get insights into the metrics that matter

Once again, we’ve only scratched the surface of our small business analysis around Labor Day. Be sure to check out The Small Business Almanac to learn more about the local market in your state and industry.

Or request a free consultation with one of our small business consultants who can show you how to get detailed insights into your business data and trends (and save time in the process).

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