SAN FRANCISCO – When the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit earlier this year, there was a sharp decline in instore grocery visits, with an average decline of 19.7 % in visitors year over year in supermarkets across the United States.
The latest data from Placer.ai suggest that that trend may be nearing its end. In May the average visit decline across brands was down to 10.1% year over year, even though many stores were still seeing significant restrictions instore and state-level regulations.
While most supermarket brands are still behind 2019 visitor numbers, Albertsons and Lidl are experiencing a slight increase in year over year visitors.
Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, on the other hand, are experiencing the slowest comeback. Instore traffic was down an average of 45.1% for Trader Joe’s in April and down 52.4% for Whole Foods. Those number recovered to being down 25% and 40.7%, respectively, in May.
For most of the 12 brands Placer.ai examined, foot traffic numbers improved week by week throughout the month of May, a pattern that is expected to continue barring any further complications like a second wave of COVID-19.
“It’s critical to note the significant recovery that these brands are already experiencing,” said Ethan Chernofsky, vice president of marketing for Placer.ai. “While recent events could hamper this growth, especially for city-oriented brands, the indications of recovery are very promising.”
"A surge of cases could dramatically impact the recovery. On the other hand, the growing levels of normalcy and the desire to return to past routines could quickly help overcome lingering pandemic concerns.”