Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In

Less Restricted States: Coronavirus Impact

Tali Rozenman
April 15, 2020
Less Restricted States: Coronavirus Impact

With tightening restrictions nationwide, Wholesale and Mass Merchandise traffic is seeing major declines. But are states with partial to no stay-at-home orders experiencing similar traffic patterns as those heavily hit by coronavirus? 

We dove into the less impacted regions of the U.S. to examine the traffic patterns and the lessons they may hold. 

Similar Target Trends

Comparing four states without any mandatory stay-at-home orders (Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota) to two states with partial stay-at-home orders (Utah and Oklahoma), alongside a heavily locked down New York, we see similar traffic trends for Target. 

All regions experienced a spike in traffic the second week of March, followed by extreme dips. While surprisingly, New York had the lowest year-over-year decrease for the second week of March, 21.6% as compared to the 30.9% to 41.3% decrease in the other states, it doubled its losses the following week while the others saw decreases that leveled off. Most states continued to level off into the third week of March, with minor decreases, and Iowa, Oklahoma and New York even started improving into the first week of April. 

The widespread, and nearly equivalent downturn, speaks to both Target’s self-imposed restrictions and the fact that the brand is less associated with grocery when compared with Walmart.

Walmart Winners 

Looking at Walmart reveals a mixed picture. While six of the states analyzed show unprecedented peaks the second week of March followed by major drops, the magnitudes of the traffic declines are different and worth noting. 

Iowa managed to sustain slight positive year-over-year growth into the third week of March, followed by the inevitable dips the following weeks, led also by Walmart’s self-imposed limitations. But both Iowa and Oklahoma chains saw smaller year-over-year decreases than the rest of the group, all in the 7% to 11% range. Utah was the only state that experienced a stronger fourth week of March than the previous week, followed by a slight dip the first week of April as a result of newly introduced state restrictions. 

Still, Iowa, Oklahoma and Utah Walmarts seem to be the most resilient during this time. And while Nebraska and North Dakota’s downward trend continues into April, the rest of the states, including New York, have nearly leveled off. 

Wholesale Strength

Looking at Sam’s Club, the regional differences and wholesale’s continued strength during the coronavirus become most apparent. Not including the Dakotas, which have too few locations to analyze, all states show enormous year-over-year traffic growth the second week of March. New York’s peak of 65.6% is actually the lowest in the group, with Utah leading at 80% year-over-year growth. Even going into the third week of March, all states show positive year-over-year growth, though much of this is related to Sam’s Club’s general resurgence in the last few quarters.

Traffic inevitably dips the final week of March, with New York being the hardest hit. Utah managed to sustain positive year-over-year growth into the third week of March. As restrictions were implemented, it finally dipped into the first week of April, with a 11.6% decrease in traffic year over year. 

Interestingly, Iowa and Nebraska managed to get back to positive growth the first week of April, perhaps as a result of a perceived need to stock up before potential stay-at-home measures were introduced. Both New York and Oklahoma seem to have reached their “floor,” with a stronger performing first week of April as compared to the last week of March. 


Unsurprisingly, the data does not lead to a uniform conclusion when it comes to the low-impact states. Yet, it’s clearly important to continue monitoring them as their response to the pandemic evolves. Obviously, different retailers in different parts of the country will be affected differently. A variety of factors, from population distribution, to number of cases, to when and which coronavirus measures are introduced will affect how this situation unfolds. And this is critical for planning for the rebound.

Will states with little to no restrictions rebound faster? Or will they suffer from even greater traffic dips further down the line? With the potential for phased returns, the implications could be enormous.

As always, we will continue to provide insights into this situation at the blog.

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.
In-N-Out Burger: What to Expect as the Brand Moves East
Location Intelligence Breakdown: Coffee Caps-Off 2022
Digitally Native Brands Lean Into Brick & Mortar
Washington, D.C. Population Changes & Migration Trends
A Location Intelligence Perspective on Macy’s Rightsizing
Amazon-Powered Shopping: The Future of Brick-and-Mortar Grocery?
Cold Weather, Hot Visits: Diving into Winter Resorts
Wawa and 7-Eleven: Leaning Into the “Slurpee Effect”
2022 and Beyond: Catching Up With McDonald’s & Chipotle
Let’s Have Some Fun! Going Out Is In’s Q4 2022 Quarterly Index Adds Industry Executives to Leadership Team To Drive Company's Next Phase of Growth
5 Emerging Retail Formats: 2023’s Brick-and-Mortar Evolution
Grocery Update: Zooming in on the Lone Star State
2022 Office Recap: The Year of the TGIF Work Week
What Lies Ahead for Brick-and-Mortar Luxury in 2023 Mall Indexes: December 2022 Recap
Looking Back on 2022’s Holiday Shopping Season
Post-Pandemic Migration Trends in New York
Top Retailers for 2023
The Live Sports Advertising Opportunity
Domestic Migration to the Mountain States: Small Shifts with Big Implications
New Year, New Food: 5 Dining Trends For 2023
This is Why Shop-in-Shops Are Everywhere
Super Saturday 2022 Recap
The San Francisco Shift
Grocery Year-End Update: Publix in the Spotlight
Three Ways Retailers Can Think Small to Increase Store Impact
Offline Beauty Is on an Upswing
The Evolving Migration Patterns of New York’s Florida Snowbirds Office Index: November 2022 Recap
How Viral Social Media Trends Can Drive Offline Engagement
Are You Ready for Some Football? Experiential Marketing Shows Promise
Mall and Shopping Center Trends For 2023
Retail Corridors and Indoor Malls: A Holiday Head-to-Head
Placer Bytes: Nike, lululemon, and GameStop Update Mall Indexes: November 2022 Update
Black Friday 2022: Consumers Hear the Call
Digitally Native Brands: Taking Off, Offline
Discount and Dollar Stores Leading the Pack
Turkey Wednesday 2022
Retail’s Evolving Holiday Season
Placer Bytes: Starbucks and Department Stores Ahead of Black Friday
Ulta: A Force to be Reckoned With
College Towns Drive Dining Growth
Foot Traffic Trends Reveal Consumers Ready for Holiday Cheer
How Retailers Can Win Big By Going Small
How Are Consumers Feeling Ahead of Black Friday 2022?
Off-Price, Hibbett, and Dick’s Pre-Holiday Check-in
Ho, Ho, Wholesale: Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s
October 2022’s Retail Rebound
Target and Walmart Ahead of the Holidays
Home Improvement: Leave it to the Pros
Despite Inflation, Holiday Season is Off to a Good Start Office Index: October 2022 Recap Mall Indexes- October 2022 Update
Americans Double Down on Fitness
The State of Grocery
CVS and Walgreens: The Wave Continues
Coffee Chains Brewing Up Visits Spotlight: Pizza Players
What Drove COVID-Era Urban Migration Trends?
Kroger and Albertsons: A Merging of Strengths
Texas Roadhouse Innovations Dishing Up Success
Holidays on the Horizon: Mid-Range and Luxury Shopping
McDonald's and Chipotle's Post-Pandemic Success
Announcing’s Q3 2022 Quarterly Index
5 Hot Restaurant Brands for 2023
Target Finds a Winning Deals Day Formula
Five Trends to Watch for 2022’s Holiday Shopping Season
September 2022 Analysis: A Difficult Month and Time for Optimism
Inflation’s Retail Winners
Five Apparel Retailers to Watch Ahead of the Holidays Spotlight: Wawa’s QSR Pivot Mall Indexes: September 2022 Recap Office Indexes: September 2022 Recap
The Impact of Population Growth on Commercial Real Estate 
Starbucks' New Makeover
There's Somethin' About Pumpkin
Expanding Offline Reach
Breakfast Restaurants are Rising in Popularity
The Power of Labor Day 2022
Tourism in Miami Heating Up
Citi Trends on the Rise
Reaching Rural Consumers Through Retail Media Network
Darden Restaurants Cooking Up Success
The Home Improvement Sector: A Sign of Consumer Confidence
QSR Is Having a Northeastern Growth Spurt
Domestic Migration’s Ripple Effects
A Look Back at Back To School 2022
Kroger Digital Tell-All
The Return of In-Person Networking
The Reinvention of the American Mall Office Building Indexes: August 2022 Recap Mall Indexes - August 2022 Recap
Five Below’s Back to School Success
Plus-Size Fashion’s Staying Power
Placer Bytes: Best Buy & GameStop 
Petco Barking Up the Right Tree