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Grocery Quarterly Index
Following an Omicron-plagued Q1, grocery visits rose again relative to last quarter. And continuing the trend of the past three quarters, nationwide grocery visits in Q2 2022 once again increased both year-over-year (YoY) and year-over-three years (Yo3Y). The continued strength of grocery is a testament to the long-term benefits of the COVID grocery boom and to shoppers’ current value-orientation which could be leading some consumers to choose home-cooked meals over eating out.
Analyzing dozens of brands including:
Economics Driving Foot Traffic
Towards the end of Q2, nationwide grocery visits dropped relative to Q2 2021 but remained strong in relation to Q2 2019 – indicating that while the category is undergoing a correction following its impressive pandemic performance, inflation is not having a significant impact on grocery visits, as consumers look to save where they can by choosing to eat at home and forego restaurant meals.
Visits per Venue Trending Down
While overall quarterly visits in Q2 were up 0.5% YoY, visits per venue were slightly down, with grocery chains seeing 1.2% fewer visits per location in Q2 2022 than in Q2 2021. This could indicate that, while some grocery brands – and especially value-oriented chains – still have room for growth, most chains may want to think twice before opening up new locations in already saturated markets.
Regional Boosts to Grocery Store Traffic
In the early days of the pandemic, grocery visits spiked throughout the country. As COVID waned, some consumers held onto pandemic habits, including increased grocery shopping – and several regional grocers are seeing a significant boost as a result. Monthly visits to ACME and Weis in the mid-Atlantic, Ingles in the Southeast, and Grocery Outlet Bargain Outlet in California remained significantly higher than they were in 2019.
National Chains Seeing Sustained Growth
National grocery chains – most notably Trader Joe’s and Aldi – also saw a significant increase in their Yo3Y monthly foot traffic in H1 2022. And despite the across-the-board visit dips in March as consumers adjusted to inflation and high gas prices, the five national chains analyzed saw foot traffic bounce back quickly in Q2 to end the quarter on a high note.
While the nationwide grocery foot traffic has come down somewhat from its pandemic peaks, the category is still seeing elevated visit levels when compared to its 2019 performance. And while the current situation may not give the category the same boost as COVID did, grocery brands that emphasize value will likely continue to thrive in H2 2022.
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As shoppers continue to tighten their budgets in the face of high prices, we checked in to see how the economy is affecting three wholesale giants.