The increase in weekend and regular visits indicates the return of normal shopping trips.
Shopping trips to grocery stores and superstores carrying food and medicine are returning back to normal, says a recent report on Placer.ai.
Visits per visitor and weekend visits to the outlets were up significantly in the second quarter year over year while visit duration was down 5.4%. The pandemic saw an increase in weekday visits as people worked from home. Now, as more people return to the office, pre-pandemic shopping patterns are becoming more common.
During the second three months of the year, Publix, Safeway, Aldi, and ShopRite saw impressive growth of 17.7%, 12.3%, 12.8%, and 11.3%, respectively, Placer.ai’s Shira Petrack. noted.
Petrack asserted the increase in visits coupled with a decrease in median visit duration indicates that mission-driven shopping has come to an end.
“The increase in visits compared to last year may hint at shoppers preferring an in-store or omnichannel shopping experience rather than purchasing goods entirely online,” she contended.
The expectation that shopping is returning to pre-pandemic norms is buttressed by increases year over year in weekend visits of 17.3% to superstores and 15% to groceries, the Placer.ai expert said.
In April, a Placer.ai report noted that grocery was a strong performer during the pandemic thanks largely to its apt categorization as an essential retailer.
“This panic-driven, stocking-up-oriented shopping drove massive visit growth in the first few weeks of March 2020, leading the relatively strong performances of the same period in 2021 to pale in comparison. And this can lead to significant mistakes….Not only is grocery not in a weak position, it’s actually gaining momentum even in the shorter term,” the study said.
Pre-pandemic levels of shoppers are also returning to indoor malls, Placer.ai reported in mid-July.
This consistent progress with visits up each month since February shows the true strength of the rebound for this critical retail format, Placer.ai’s Ethan Chernofsky said in a report on Q2 mall data. “Shoppers continue to show their desire to visit these retail destinations, another sign of the powerful resiliency of consumer demand for the mall format.”
He cautioned the back-to-school season will also be a critical metric for retailers, especially since the 2019 season was especially successful and set “a very difficult bar to reach for the 2021 season.”
“If the visit gap continues to shrink, it will be an exceptionally strong sign for the retail sector,” Chernofsky said. “However, even if the gap increases, it may have more to do with the heights hit in 2019 than the pace of recovery in 2021.”