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Grocery
Quarterly Index
2021: Q2

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The Grocery sector remained open and shone brightly throughout the pandemic. But while year-over-year visit numbers remained relatively steady, mission-driven shopping and more flexible daily schedules still affected other visit metrics. Q2 visit data indicates that normalcy is returning to shopping patterns while pandemic surges seem to be positioning some brands for long-term strength.

Analyzing dozens of brands including:

Rising Visits Across the Board

The Grocery sector had a strong Q2, with visits rising almost across the board. While some brands are seeing returns to pre-pandemic visit numbers, other grocery stores are still experiencing an increase in visits compared to Q2 2019. This indicates that certain brands have proven capable of turning their pandemic strength into a longer-term customer relationship.

“Some brands are seeing returns to pre-pandemic visit numbers, while other grocery stores are still experiencing an increase in visits compared to Q2 2019.”

+17.7%
Publix saw a 17.7% rise in visits year over year

Grocery Returning to Normalcy

The pandemic led to the rise of “mission-driven” shopping, as consumers tried to minimize their exposure to the virus by shopping less frequently and stocking up more on every trip. Flexible schedules also motivated many shoppers to hit the grocery store at unusual hours to avoid crowds and long checkout lines. Now, the rise in weekend visits coupled with the decrease in median visit duration shows that consumers are returning to their pre-pandemic grocery shopping patterns.

“Consumers are returning to their pre-pandemic grocery shopping patterns.”

+15%
Weekend visits grew by 15% compared to Q2 2020

Analyzing the Outliers

Some brands that experienced unique challenges or changes during the pandemic are on the road to recovery. Whole Foods Market struggled during the pandemic, driven heavily by its approach and regional distribution. Its YoY and QoQ visit increases in Q2 indicate that the brand is on the rebound, although it has not yet returned to 2019 visit levels. Trader Joe’s, on the other hand, has now made a full recovery, showing just how strong the chain’s brand relationship is.

“Some brands that experienced unique challenges or changes during the pandemic are on the road to recovery. ”

+5.7%
Trader Joe’s has fully recovered, with a 5.7% increase in visits compared to 2019

Casual Visits Increase

Both loyal and casual visits increased in Q2 as shoppers made shorter, more frequent trips to grocery stores, but the surge seems particularly pronounced among casual shoppers. This could indicate that customers are beginning to venture further from home and to patronize a wider array of grocery stores now that movement restrictions have been mostly lifted and normal work and school routines are returning.

“Both loyal and casual visits increased in Q2 as shoppers made shorter, more frequent visits to grocery stores.”

+19.6%
19.6% Increase in Casual Visits year over year

Summary

The Grocery sector was the least affected by COVID of all the sectors analyzed. Still, shoppers tried to limit their exposure to the virus by making fewer trips to the store that lasted longer as they stocked up on groceries and filled bigger baskets. Now, with normalcy returning, shoppers are back to their pre-pandemic shopping habits with shorter and more frequent grocery runs.

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