Drive-in Retail

Walmart has announced the conversion of 160 store locations into makeshift drive-in movie theaters in partnership with Tribeca Enterprises. According to Walmart, screenings will start in early August and will be safe and socially distanced events.

The scale of the drive-in theatre industry is still small, with only 321 locations in the US last year. However, Walmart’s opening of 160 new drive-in theaters means they will now own a large majority of the industry. Capitalizing on changing behaviors during lockdown, Walmart will see more customers and movie-goers in their parking lots. Not only does it offer a great incentive for families to visit the stores, but it gives them a reason to top up on everything they need for the movie experience as well.

Drive-through theaters have seen a resurgence in recent months as cinema’s remain closed and social distancing remains in place. The Ocala Drive-In in Florida has noted a surge in business of 50-60% as customers seek enjoyable socially distanced activities. People are also enjoying the nostalgia of the experience as cinemas rely on older films. Jurassic Park recently hit number one at the US box office nearly 30 years after its release. Brands that are aware of the ways in which trends and behaviors are changing and are able to create win-win situations, will be able to find opportunities to thrive despite difficult conditions.

Contributed by: Michael Krog, Senior Integrated Planner, Integer London

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