When governments began implementing stay-at-home orders in March, grocery stores were classified as essential businesses — but some were still hit hard by the pandemic.
A new analysis of grocery store foot traffic from Placer.ai found that many supermarket chains have seen their business decline, and only three — Albertsons, Winn-Dixie and Meijer — saw increases in foot traffic. Those gains were small, however; foot traffic was up 6 percent, 7 percent, and less than 1 percent, respectively.
Whole Foods saw the biggest drop in traffic, a 33 percent plunge. Trader Joe’s was next worst with a 16 percent decline.
“The COVID pandemic has fundamentally altered the grocery sector, from the way consumers shop to the brands consumers choose to shop at,” the report said.
Placer.ai looked at foot traffic for 15 major grocery chains from March through October. There was a 30 percent surge in foot traffic during the second week of March, when many people stocked up as lockdown restrictions were put into place. After that, visits dropped through the end of June, and have been see-sawing since then.
Even though the number of visits to grocery stores has declined and online ordering of food has grown, shoppers are spending more time at supermarkets when they do go. At Walmart, for example, visit lengths increased 9 percent year-over-year as average visits per customer decreased 13 percent.
Some of the trends may be tied to states’ individual coronavirus lockdown orders. For Trader Joe’s, traffic is down 12 percent in New York and 9 percent in California, but it’s up 8 percent in Texas and 3 percent in Florida.