Confidence is the number one benefit Weingarten Realty receives from STI: PopStats’ quarterly population estimates, says the company.
Weingarten’s confidence in the accuracy of STI: PopStats began with its first look at the demographic data in an Arizona test market. “PopStats picked up people that we otherwise would have missed,” says Kyle Kretsinger, Director of Research/Marketing Services for the commercial real estate company based in Houston, Texas.
“In fact, another data vendor’s product missed this population entirely in a side-by-side comparison,” Kyle adds. While the population estimates from the other data provider showed no population in both one-mile and two-mile trade area rings, PopStats estimated 3,000 and 6,000 people respectively. “These numbers are significant. They can make or break a new project.”
Weingarten’s confidence has only gotten stronger since its introduction to PopStats data — which has helped the company not only make better decisions but also save money.
Saving Research Costs
“Our confidence in PopStats’ numbers is so high that we greatly reduced the number of housing studies we conducted in growth markets,” explains Kretsinger.
Typically, the real estate development company surveyed homebuilders that were building new subdivisions in new markets. The price tag for these in-field services was anywhere from $4,000 to $8,000, depending on if Weingarten conducted the research itself or used a third-party research firm. They were a significant expense, with up to 20 housing studies a year conducted when the company was focused on new developments.
“Even if we conducted the research ourselves, there are many costs, including airfare, hotels, meals, and time out of the office,” notes Kyle.
“After we started using PopStats we were able to replace most housing studies with PopStats’ quarterly growth trends — that’s how certain we are of the data’s ability to see populations in markets as they are growing.”
“PopStats has the unique ability to give us a very high comfort level without needing to spend the money to feel comfortable with our decisions,” adds Kyle.
Gaining Workplace and Seasonal Insight
Along with saving on housing studies, Kyle says that PopStats data has also saved the company the expense of conducting workplace studies. “We used to go into new markets and count how many businesses were there. Then apply a formula to determine how many people worked in the area. The number is important to our clients who rely on a certain percentage of daytime population for their business operations.
“Now, PopStats provides us with accurate workplace population counts — which we also have the utmost confidence in. This is another great convenience and savings.”
With several shopping centers located in the Southern part of the U.S., seasonal population trends are also a valuable form of demographic insight for Weingarten, notes Kyle. “PopStats is the only data that allows us to track seasonal trends. With its quarterly population updates, we are able to clearly see the seasonal fluctuations in our markets. We can share this insight with our tenants, so they can make more informed business decisions as well.”
Speaking the Same Language
With the high-growth boom on hold for the time being, Weingarten is focused on managing the property it currently owns. This includes marketing its existing space to retailers. “PopStats data comes in handy for marketing our properties,” notes Kyle. “We can show potential clients what population exists and what changes are expected. All companies do a better job when they understand the dynamics of a trade area’s population.”
Kyle notes that many of Weingarten’s larger retail clients like grocers and restaurants already use PopStats data in their own market research activities. “This is great because we are all speaking the same language when discussing population counts and characteristics.”