Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In

Grocery Update - Summer 2021

Ethan Chernofsky
August 18, 2021
Grocery Update - Summer 2021

The grocery sector has witnessed a uniquely fascinating period with early COVID concerns driving huge traffic surges to supermarkets, while the recovery period has seen uneven returns for different brands. And the questions are growing. Can the sector turn it’s COVID status into long term strength? Will the rising excitement around restaurants cut into their success?

We dove into the latest grocery data to find out.

The Expected Winners Still Winning

The rise of traditional, one-stop-shop grocers during the pandemic was a key trend where brands that were well aligned with providing value alongside mission-driven shopping were uniquely positioned. Players like Publix, Albertsons and Kroger saw significant strength during the pandemic – and there were indications that this was just the beginning. Essentially, the feeling was that the extended nature of COVID would sustain wider concerns around economic uncertainty, at-home cooking would retain a significant piece of the pie, and the ability to win over customers during the pandemic would drive ongoing loyalty.

And it does appear that these same brands successfully turned their COVID opportunity into long term strength. Looking at monthly visit data year-over-year shows that Publix averaged a massive visit jump of 17.3% for April, May, June and July when compared to the same months in 2020. Albertsons and Kroger also saw impressive average monthly jumps of 5.4% and 5.3% respectively. The ability of these brands to turn effective alignment with short-term trends into a foundation for extended success is a huge testament to their current strength and continued potential. 

The Recoveries

While some brands outperformed throughout the pandemic, others saw more uneven results. Yet, for many of these, the turnaround is underway. Grocery leaders across the spectrum like Trader Joe’s, H-E-B, Ralphs, and Harris Teeter have all seen significant and marked recoveries in recent months. H-E-B saw visits down 4.0% on average the first four months of 2021 when compared to the equivalent months in 2019, yet for May, June and July that average monthly change turned around to 4.5% growth. Trader Joe’s saw visits up 11.0% in July 2021 when compared to July 2019 after seeing January and February visits down 1.6% and 0.7% respectively compared to their 2019 equivalents.

The same pattern held true for Safeway, Ralphs, Giant and Harris Teeter – showing that while some grocers were negatively impacted by pandemic retail patterns, many possessed the brand relationship necessary to drive a strong recovery. The key factor appears to be success pre-pandemic along with activities to sustain brand loyalty even when the conditions were less ideal. The result has been a strong and steep recovery pattern that should position these chains well moving forward.

Expansion Leaders

Two brands that are increasingly grabbing attention are Lidl and Aldi, both of whom have aggressively expanded their US footprint in recent years. And the expansions are delivering results on the visit front, with both seeing massive year-over-year gains in weekly visits nationwide. The big question, however, is how they will perform as expansion efforts slow down. Should they prove capable of maintaining some growth in visits as new store plans slow, hopes for even greater future success could increase accordingly.

The COVID Lift

While some brands used pre-pandemic strength as a foundation for pandemic and recovery success, one brand that truly leveraged the pandemic to redefine its position is Winn-Dixie. The grocer had seen a very uneven period heading into early 2020, yet its focus on value, being a one-stop-shop, and proximity to audiences drove significant growth during COVID. 

And looking at Winn-Dixie visits compared to both 2019 and 2020 levels shows that the brand seems to have successfully raised its profile. While year-over-year visits were down in March and have seen visit increases decreasing consistently month-over-month, the 2019 comparison is critical. While Winn-Dixie may not be seeing the same strength of surge as it did in 2020, it has clearly been pushed into a new level within the grocery landscape. While visits were only up 3.4% year-over-year in July, they are 18.4% higher than July 2019. This indicates that the brand could be oriented towards a much brighter trajectory as a result of its pandemic performance.

Will the grocery sector continue to drive impressive success stories? 

Visit 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 Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
4 Strategies Retailers are Using to Drive Traffic to Their Venues
5 Key Regional Grocery Players Impressing in 2023
Upscale Kitchenware Trending Up
Costco Finds More Room for Growth
Four C-Store Chains Making an A-Grade
National Parks + Outdoor Summer Activities
Diving Into Darden: Summer 2023 Update
The Summer Event Effect
Messi: Massive in Miami
Looking Back on Back to School 2023
The Anchor Recap: August 2023 Office Index: August 2023 Recap Mall Index: August 2023 Recap White Paper Recap: August 2023
Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Strikes Again
Big Scoop: We All Scream For Ice Cream
Sports Away: Lululemon & Nike’s Momentum Continues
Summer Visits Heat Up For Recreation and Outdoor Gear Chains
No CSS overwrite - July 2023 Office Index Recap
Staging - August 2023 Mall Indec
Mid-Atlantic Grocery Deep Dive
Experiential Chains Heating Up This Summer
Petco Goes Big by Going Small
Ulta Beauty: Leading the Discretionary Pack
Discount and Dollar Chains Continue to Thrive
Summer of Sports: DICK’s Sporting Goods and Hibbett Sports
Off-Price: Succeeding Into Summer
The Anchor Recap: July 2023
Superstores Maintaining Pandemic Gains Amidst Economic Headwinds
2023: Home Improvement at the Halfway Point
July 2023 Office Index Recap Mall Index: July 2023 Recap
widget test
The Taylor Swift Visit Lift
Southwestern Grocery Dive
July 2023 White Paper Recap: Halfway Point Review & Quarterly Index
Yum! Brands: Driving Dining Visits
Slurpees and Summer Movies Stimulate Consumer Foot Traffic
Cool Beans: Summer Coffee Update
Checking In on Back to School 2023
Crocs and New Balance Tip The Scales
Burger Bliss: Shake Shack and In-N-Out Stacking Visits
Chipotle & McDonald's Continue to Reign Supreme
Vibenomics and Partner to Enhance Retail Media In-Store Measurement
California Grocers Here We Come!
Marriott’s Different Audiences
Bonchon and Kura Sushi Thrive in the Fast-Casual Scene
A Shoe In: Footwear Climbs to the Top
Cheers! Raising a Glass to Beverage Retail Office Index: June 2023 Recap Mall Index June 2023 Recap – A Turn of the Tide and a Dive into Open-Air Lifestyle Centers
Local Kitchens: Redefining the Restaurant
Unlocking Urban Insights: The Value in Manhattan’s Employees
Ohio State Parks On The Rise
How is Inflation Impacting the High-Income Shoppers?
Five Fast-Growing Dining Chains
What To Expect From Prime Day and July Sales Events in 2023
The State Of Fashion: How Are Apparel Retailers Faring in 2023?
2023’s Latest Dining Success Story: GEN Korean BBQ House
The NBA Finals: A Location Intelligence Perspective
Moving the Market: The Impact of Domestic Migration on Housing Costs
Post-Pandemic Museum Update
The Darden-est Things
The Enduring Demand for Urban and Suburban Retail
Leveraging Data to Evaluate the Impact of Municipal Investments
Trader Joe's Success Amidst Food Inflation and Changing Consumer Behavior Office Index: May 2023 Recap
Fitness at its Fittest: Staying Strong in 2023
Movie Theaters, Off-Price, and Home Improvement: May 2023 Recap Mall Index - May 2023 Recap
What’s Working for Bath & Body Works?
Why Are Specialty Grocers Thriving in 2023?
The CAVA Craze: A Location Intelligence Perspective on the Mediterranean Marvel
How Will Primark’s US Expansion Impact Target?
All Eyes on Eyewear
Northwestern U.S. Grocery Dive
Return of the Lunch: Salad Chains Are Thriving
Retail Media Networks – Off the Beaten Track
Bet Your Bottom Dollar: Discount and Dollar Stores Drive Foot Traffic
Ulta & Lululemon: Discretionary Spending On The Up
The Score After Q1: Sporting Goods Chains
Who Uses NYC Airports: Biting Into The Big Apple’s Main Transport Hubs
Off Price: Strength in The Face of Retail Challenges
Visits Improve for Home Improvement
Walmart, Target & Wholesalers in Q1 2023 – The Return of Mission-Driven Shopping?
Department Store Roundup: Q1 2023 Office Index: April 2023 Recap Mall Index, April 2023 – A Rebound on the Horizon?
How Will Bed Bath & Beyond’s Bankruptcy Impact the Retail Space?
Buffet Restaurants: Filling Up on Foot Traffic
Thrift Stores: Vintage Visits Drive New Age in Apparel
The Windy City: A Hub of Post-Pandemic Opportunity
Diving into Dining Traffic - Q1 2023
Bring On The Joe
A Dollar (or more) For Your Thoughts: Five Below and pOpshelf
Dining Out With The Cheesecake Factory
Retail Foot Traffic Recap – March 2023
Digging Into 2023: McDonald’s and Chipotle Update Office Index: March 2023 Recap
How Did Key Retail Categories Perform in Q1 2023?