How American Eagle Managed To Rebound From Pandemic Lockdowns Much Better Than Its Competition

The pandemic hasn't been easy on anyone or any industry; the fashion and beauty worlds have had a very hard time recovering, as trendy clothes and makeup haven't been as much of a priority for most people during these rough times. Even once-iconic department stores are finding it impossible to reach pre-COVID highs in foot traffic, and many of Zara's in-store shoppers haven't returned after COVID-19 lockdowns. Despite the pandemic's impact on the desire to shop in stores, some companies have succeeded during these stressful times. For instance, American Eagle is still doing quite well, especially in comparison to its competitors.

According to data collected by SafeGraph, American Eagle has often, if not always, had a higher foot traffic score than its competition, with numbers far above Abercrombie and Hollister in 2020 before the pandemic hit. More specifically, one day in early January 2020, American Eagle practically doubled its competition's foot traffic scores in the U.S. with 7,949 unique visits, while Abercrombie and Hollister received only 4,144 and 3,307 visits, respectively. Then, all three companies suffered an understandable hit during lockdowns in early April 2020: on April 6, for example, Abercrombie had 243 visits, American Eagle had 299, and Hollister had 49. But while American Eagle's foot traffic numbers were able to climb back up with time, Abercrombie and Hollister haven't done so well.

American Eagle's prices are more affordable

In August 2020, American Eagle's foot traffic score reached an impressive rebound at 7,952 in a single day, while Abercrombie and Hollister's numbers stayed lower at only 3,851 and 2,666, respectively (via SafeGraph). Then, fast forwarding to summer 2022, it's clear that American Eagle Outfitters is dominating the competition's numbers; on July 11, American Eagle received 10,969 visits, while Abercrombie and Hollister's numbers were unbelievably lower at 1,305 and 2,507, respectively. So, how is American Eagle Outfitters getting so many more visitors?

It's no secret that inflation has made shopping less fun than it used to be because prices for necessary items such as food have been rising. Thus, customers are probably gravitating toward American Eagle because the company's prices are more reasonable than its competitors'. For instance, a basic tank top at American Eagle is on sale for only around $10, with the company often having sales. On the other hand, another basic tank at Abercrombie is on sale for almost $20 — nearly double American Eagle's price. Meanwhile, one of Hollister's tanks sells for around $18.

Still, many customers prefer online shopping now, thanks to its convenience and lower risk of catching COVID-19 or even monkeypox. So, although American Eagle is the winner in the foot traffic arena, Abercrombie and Hollister aren't doomed, especially as they have impressive Instagram follower counts of 4.9 million and 5.1 million, respectively. These legacy brands will likely be fine thanks to online shopping, but we can also determine that American Eagle's lower prices likely draw people into physical storefronts more.