Cold Lang Syne: How Weather Impacted NYE Foot Traffic Across the US


Few events can match the glitz and glamour of New Year’s Eve; even fewer can match the foot traffic. And with the growing importance of using mobile location data to localize targeting, the biggest party of the year offered the perfect opportunity to demonstrate the power of our Geo-Fencing with Event Targeting solution. So we chose six cities across the continental United States — some with big outdoor ball-drops, others with smaller unofficial gatherings — to record attendance and analyze foot traffic at various points throughout the day. We also tracked all-day foot traffic for Dec. 17 and Dec. 24, to see how big of an increase, if any, there was over your average day in the city.

As expected, New Year’s foot traffic increased over previous weeks in all six locations: New York City, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Dallas, New Orleans, and Orlando. There were, however, some notable variances between cities.

The most critical of which, unsurprisingly, was the weather. We all know New York is frigid this time of year. But what effect would that have on the party in Times Square? Not a whole lot, actually. Attendance was pretty consistent throughout the day, with crowds beginning to gather early in the afternoon and remaining steady through midnight. There was, however, a significant drop-off — nearly 50% — in the moments following the ball-drop, with attendees perhaps yearning for a warm, cozy nightcap indoors, which is understandable when you consider that temperatures were in the single digits by the time midnight rolled around.

For comparison, partygoers at Grand Park in Los Angeles, a relatively warmer locale, dropped off by just 29% between midnight and 2 a.m., and the Las Vegas Strip stayed strong well after the calendar turned, with only about a 35% decline in the same timeframe. Vegas also had a significant increase from prior weeks to New Year’s Eve, with a roughly 21% increase in foot traffic, reinforcing the oft-theorized idea that, well, people go to Vegas to have fun … into the wee hours of the morning.

Universal Studios in Orlando, on the other hand, demonstrated the opposite. We geo-fenced Universal CityWalk, site of its annual EVE celebration, and found that while traffic grew in the weeks leading up to New Year’s Eve, attendance peaked in the early afternoon hours and tapered off later in the evening. This suggests that, while still a destination for fun, Universal offers a more kid-friendly experience — especially compared to Las Vegas.

While each city saw an increase in traffic on the 31st, some were far more dramatic than others. New Orleans, which held a public celebration in the French Quarter’s Jackson Square, more than doubled its activity over the previous week. As did Dallas, which no longer has its big outdoor gathering in Victory Park, but instead held an unofficial fireworks watch party just down the road at Trinity Groves, a popular food and retail district west of downtown. With temperatures dipping down into the teens — a rarity for Dallas — our data showed 9 p.m. to midnight had the most activity by far, suggesting that people stayed indoors for as long as they could before trekking to their party destination. (We can’t blame them; it was just as cold here at our Fort Worth office!)

All things considered, this exercise provided an informed glimpse into how New Year’s habits vary across different cities and venues — demonstrating just one of the many capabilities of our geo-fencing solution. If you’re curious about how localization and event targeting can help your business, give us a shout at