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2021: Q2 Quarterly Index
Most superstores carry groceries and/or pharmacy products and remained open throughout the pandemic. As a result, the main impact on the sector was similar to the impact on grocery stores – mission-driven shoppers made fewer and longer trips. Now, foot traffic data indicates an end to mission-driven shopping and a return to normalcy, with many brands emerging stronger now than in 2019.
Analyzing dozens of brands including:
Visits Rise Again
Most superstores remained open throughout the pandemic – but their visits took a hit as mission-driven shoppers made fewer trips and stocked up more on each visit. Now, the large increase in quarterly visits compared both to last quarter and last year indicates that customers’ shopping habits are back to normal.
Normal Shopping Habits Return
Throughout the pandemic, weekend visits took a bigger hit than weekday visits as Americans stuck at home looked for any excuse to get out of the house and break up the monotony. But since workplaces and other venues began opening back up in Q2, Americans have been returning to their pre-pandemic shopping routines, with weekend visits on the rise once again.
Median Visit Duration Falls
While visits rose across the board compared to last quarter, the median visit duration fell almost everywhere – indicating that customers are no longer limiting their number of visits and attempting to squeeze the most out of every trip. The impact is that while visits are rising, basket sizes could ‘normalize,’ shifting shopping patterns back to pre-pandemic standards.
Biggest Q2 Winners
Some brands that have seen double-digit jumps in visits compared to 2019 early in the pandemic are holding on to their gains so that YoY and QoQ growth looks deceptively moderate without the context of 2019. When drawing the year-over-two-year comparison, however, four brands stand out with impressive gains in visits: BJ’s Wholesale Club, Big Lots, Five Below, and Dollar General. All four brands continue to show quarterly growth in visits, so their current strength might be just the beginning.
While most superstores did quite well this past quarter, Five Below and Dollar General did remarkably well, with a double-digit increase in visits compared to Q1 2021. Q3 will be the test to see if the sector retains its gains as normalcy continues to return.
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