Foot traffic at Whole Foods rebounds, but still remains lower than pre-pandemic levels, claims Placer.ai


According to Placer.ai – a California-based company using cell phone data to track pedestrian foot traffic in and around retail properties –traffic at Whole Foods, and many rivals, recovered strongly in Q2 2021 (April, May, June) compared with the same three months in 2020, when many consumers avoided brick & mortar stores altogether, made fewer, bigger trips, or simply worked through products they had bought during the pantry-loading phase in early March.

However, if you compare traffic over the same three-month period to two years previously (ie. before the pandemic), Whole Foods’ traffic remains stubbornly down, by around -20% in April 2021 (vs April 2019), around -16% in May 2021 vs May 2019, and around -13% in June 2021 vs June 2019, while fellow grocers experienced traffic growth, Ethan Chernofsky, VP marketing at Placer.ai, told FoodNavigator-USA.

“A year-over-two-year comparison emphasizes the unique strength of certain traditional grocers. Several, like Publix and Albertsons, marked growth compared to the equivalent months two years prior, throughout much of late 2020 and early 2021.  

“This deepens the concept that the surge experienced by traditional grocers could spur a larger trend of ongoing success. Should these brands find tactics to extend the short-term success, the effects could be significant.

“H-E-B is a very interesting example in that COVID decreased visits, but the recovery has seen the brand catapult back into a position of strength. Visits for the weeks beginning June 14 and 21 were up 12.5% and 9.2% respectively when compared to their 2019 equivalent.”



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