Panic-driven, stock-up shopping spurred massive grocery store attendance growth in the first few weeks of March 2020, suggesting that it was pale in comparison to the relatively strong performance of the same period in 2021 A new report from Placer.ai.
According to the Location Analysis Agency, despite 28% annual store visits during the week of March 8, 2021, the outlook for grocery is much more favorable than it first appears.
Ethan Chernofsky, Blaser’s vice president of marketing, said: A blog post. “But 2021 will be immersed in the unique challenge of trying to understand certain sectors in a world where year-on-year data is greatly misleading.”
For example, Chernofsky points to the case of two leading grocery retailers: Albertsons and Publics store visits fell by 34.6% and 20.3%, respectively, in the week of March 8 – the worst weekly year-over-year marker the brand has seen since 2017. However, when looking at the same brands compared to the equivalent week in 2019 – two years ago – the picture changes dramatically with Albertson by just 0.3% and Publics by 0.8%.
“Not only is the grocery not in a weak position, it is gaining momentum even in the short term,” Chernofsky said. “Looking at the weekly visits to the same chains shows that most people see consistent growth in late January and early February with the primary cause of declines coming from severe unpredictable weather in certain regions.”
When all variables are taken into account, the best grocery stores “really go in the right direction, and they may go through periods of unique strength,” says Placer.ai’s report. Add some cultural changes – more flexible work schedules, longer shopping trips and larger basket sizes and more vaccinated shoppers – and grocers may actually perform better this year than 2020.
“While the health effects of COVID appear to be disintegrating, the economic effects will last a very long time,” Chernofsky said. “It’s important to buy groceries because it offers a cost – effective alternative to eating. In addition, more flexibility at work at home should allow more people to shop when they want, and enable them to get longer visits to drive larger basket sizes.”