Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a Placer.ai account? Log In

Grocery Update - Behaviors, Visits and the Rest of 2020

by 
Ethan Chernofsky
 on 
September 14, 2020
Grocery Update - Behaviors, Visits and the Rest of 2020

When we last looked at grocery shopping behavior, we noted a few key changes. Visits were shifting from weekends to weekdays and from evenings to mornings. And seemingly, these shifts were driving more time in store, along with a significant shift in visit duration for top brands.

But now with the recovery in full swing, we decided to check back in on key behavioral patterns in grocery to see which trends have had staying power and which have returned to “normalcy”.

Visits Are Up

The first key metric to analyze is overall visits, and few sectors have seen the same general positive trend as grocery. For the week beginning August 17th, the wider grocery sector was still down 5.3% overall. Yet, much of this was the result of a few outliers that were still seeing significant declines. Instead, the wider picture does look to be very positive for the space. Of the eight brands analyzed, only three saw year-over-year declines in August 2020.

While two of those, Wegmans and Sprouts, were within striking distance of year-over-year growth, Whole Foods was still down 22.5% year over year in August. But critically, even Whole Foods was enjoying a strong recovery that was consistently pulling visit rates higher each month. 

And this is a powerful context for a sector that could be well-positioned for the months to come. Periods of economic uncertainty are often defined by a return to grocery, and with traditional supermarket brands already seeing a boost during the pandemic, there is no reason to expect this trend to tail off anytime soon.

Each Visit Has More Value

It’s not just the visits themselves that should give confidence, but the types of visits as well. Customer loyalty - measured by the number of visits per visitor in July and August 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, either remained stagnant or dropped for all brands analyzed. And while this might normally be seen as a negative, it happened while visit duration - and in many cases overall visits - grew significantly for these same brands. In fact, while loyalty dipped 2.4% year over year for the group, visit length increased 4.8%. This is a hugely significant jump when considering the already long visit duration that supermarkets enjoy.

The conclusion? Mission-driven shopping is pushing visitors to take slightly less trips, but to dedicate more time and buying potential to each visit. With this likely leading to increases in basket size, the combination of growing visit rates and increased time in store could be a potent mix for grocery in the coming months.

When We Shop

One of the key changes noted in our May analysis was a demonstrable shift of visits from evenings to mornings. And while the difference may not have been as marked in the summer, it was still significant. The percentage of visitors going to grocery stores between 6 am and 9 am, and 9 am and 12 pm, increased significantly between 2019 and 2020. As expected, the biggest drop came from evening visits. This reinforces the point that grocery visitors are showing a clear indication towards morning visits when possible.

But not all of the changes have lasted. We noted in our last report that Monday through Thursdays saw a lift at the expense of weekends. Yet, it does appear that this shift may have been temporary. Comparing 2019 to 2020, visit rates for Mondays through Thursdays actually dropped in July and August 2020. On the other hand, the biggest gainer wasn’t Saturdays or Sundays, but Fridays. For the group, Friday visits jumped from 14.2% of total visits in 2019, to 15.9% in 2020 - the most significant overall shift.

Why the change here? Maybe summer visits were different in 2020 and weekdays will see a boost once again come September. Maybe Fridays have emerged as a uniquely good day for grocery shopping. Or, maybe there is a slow shift back to normalcy in terms of day of week, while other behavioral changes show more staying power.

Grocery Strength

The biggest takeaway from the latest grocery analysis is that the sector is continuing to show a unique level of strength. Visits are rising as is visit duration even though loyalty metrics are staying stagnant if not dropping. This means for new visitors, likely making more purchases per visit - a recipe for an exceptionally strong period for supermarkets. And with many of these shifts likely to sustain because of an extended period of economic uncertainty, grocery could remain among the most exciting sectors to watch in the months to come.

Will the strength continue? Visit Placer.ai to find out.

Get 3 brand & industry
breakdowns every week

Subscribe to the newsletter

Great! Prepare your inbox for data-driven insights...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get a Demo

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please provide a valid email
Please enter your email
Please enter company name

Thanks for reaching out!

One of our experts will be in touch soon

Try Placer.ai Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Strong Start for Sprouts in 2024
Crocs’ Footwear Fairytale
Who Attends NCAA Final Four Events?
Eclipse Fever: How Did the (Retail and Hospitality) Stars Align?
Exploring Albertsons Companies’ Grocery Growth
Placer.ai Mall Index: March 2024 Recap – Malls Rise Again
Placer.ai Office Index: March 2024 Recap
Florida Spring Break Break-Up? Travelers Still Love Florida!
Provo-Orem and Ogden-Clearfield Emerging As Utah Hotspots 
Three Formulas for Experiential Retail in 2024
Aldi & Lidl Making The Cut
Texas Suburbs on the Rise
Exploring Luxury Hotel Brands’ Guest Segmentation
The St. Patrick’s Day Effect
How Can JOANN Make a Comeback?
Panera Bread Well Positioned for Possible IPO
Who Will Benefit From Family Dollar’s Downsizing?
Dave & Buster’s and Main Event Entertainment: Food and Fun for Everyone
Darden Brands: Location Analytics and Consumer Behavior
Nike and lululemon: a Strong 2023, Sprinting into 2024
Where Is Retail and Dining Foot Traffic Thriving in Early 2024?
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – February 2024
Three Retail & Dining Chains That May Surprise in 2024
Specialty Discount Chains Rock Retail Therapy
Placer.ai Mall Index: February 2024
Placer.ai Office Index: February 2024 Recap
Ulta Beauty Continues To Shine
First Watch Sails Into 2024
Hibbett Sports and DICK’S Sporting Goods: A Psychographic Analysis
Checking in With Discount & Dollar Stores
Peeking Behind The Curtain: Movie Theaters in 2023 and Beyond
Diving Into Brick-and-Mortar Eyewear
Getting Into Gear: Exploring The Auto Part Industry
Recapping Valentine’s Day 2024 Foot Traffic Trends
Fitness: A Strong Start to 2024
Dutch Bros. Continues To Percolate Visits
Super Bowl 2024: Placer.ai’s Postgame Foot Traffic Analysis
CAVA & sweetgreen Are On the Rise
Hats Off For Off-Price
Who Is Shopping at Malls?
Drilling Down Into Home Improvement
Walmart, Target, Costco & Superstore Space 2023 Recap
Catching Up With Shake Shack and Wingstop
Something To Chew On: Demographic Shifts at Steakhouse Chains
Placer.ai Office Index: Looking Back at 2023
Recapping RBI & Yum! Brands’ 2023 Foot Traffic Performance
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – January 2024
Who Shops at Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters?
Three Taco Chains to Watch in 2024
Starbucks and Dunkin’: 2023 in Four Data Points
Who Visits CVS and Walgreens?
Fashionably Frugal: Apparel in 2023
Catching Up With Fast Food
The Grocery Sector in 2023: An End-of-Year Recap
3 Mall & Shopping Center Trends for 2024
Bakery Chains Rising To The Top
Placer.ai and Esri Partner to Deliver Geospatial Analytics
Tampa Tourism Trends
Going For The Green: The Changing Dynamics Of Country Clubs
Christmas Day Dining Recap
Major Urban Shopping Districts – Holiday Season Recap
Placer.ai Office Index: December 2023 Recap
Recapping the 2023 Holiday Shopping Season
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – December 2023
7 Retail & Dining Segments to Watch in 2024
Diving Into Holiday Season Favorites
Super Saturday and Christmas Eve Eve: A Winning Combination
3 Budget Grocery Chains Finishing 2023 On a High Note
Making It In America: International Chicken Chains Bring The Heat
Domestic Tourism at a Glance: A Q3 2023 Roundup
Five Pizza Chains On The Rise
Jewelry Brands Taking Advantage of the DTC Opportunity
Secondhand News: Kids' Thrift Shops
Recapping 2023’s Dining M&As
MetLife Stadium Kicks Off Football Season
Placer.ai Office Index: November 2023 Recap
Small Coffee Chains Brewing Big Success
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – November 2023
Thanksgiving Travel 2023 Recap
Checking in With Nike and Lululemon
Black Friday 2023 Retail Recap
Starbucks’ 2023 Holiday Menu & Red Cup Day Performance
Turkey Wednesday 2023
Who Attended the 2023 Pickleball Championship? 
Three Surprising Holiday Shopping Trends
What’s in Store for Ulta Beauty This Holiday Season?
Best Buy and Department Stores: A Holiday Deep Dive
Discount & Dollar Stores: Strength Toward The End of the Year
The State of Off-Price Retail: Discounts Seal The Deal
Placer Mall Index Recap: October 2023
Placer.ai Office Index: October 2023 Recap
Retail Corridors Ahead of the 2023 Holiday Season
California, Here Gap Comes
Checking in With Home Improvement
Getting Into the Glasses Game: Warby Parker Takes Over
Fitness Positioned for a Strong 2023 Finish
White Paper Recap: October 2023
Coffee Giants Brewing Up Business
Popeyes and Burger King Lead the Way
Diving into Yum!