The day before Thanksgiving, also known as Turkey Wednesday — a normally hectic day for grocery stores — saw a dramatic drop in foot traffic compared to 2019 levels, according to data compiled by analytics research firm Placer.ai.
Major chains like Kroger (KR), Publix, Albertsons (ACI) and Wegmans saw traffic decrease nearly 20% on average compared with last year. But the data hints at shifting consumer behaviors as shoppers adapt to a new pandemic normal.
Fewer shoppers may have hit the supermarket the day before Thanksgiving, but visits to those same grocery store chains were up nearly 2% on average on the Monday and Tuesday before the holiday.
Kroger and Publix saw visits increase 4.1% and 1.4%, respectively, on those days compared to 2019, while Wegmans saw a mega swing from visits down over 29% year-over-year on Turkey Wednesday to down just 4.1% on Monday and Tuesday.
Furthermore, foot traffic patterns steadily increased in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, according to Placer.ai.
This all points to a consumer who is now “more prepared” than usual as coronavirus cases continue to rise across the United States.
Fears of a second nationwide lockdown, or even more granular statewide lockdowns, have shoppers thinking back to March’s chaos when items like toilet paper and frozen chicken flew off store shelves.
Similar stockpiling patterns are beginning to happen once again as consumers hope to limit their exposure to the virus.
In response, grocery store chains including Giant, Kroger and Wegmans have reenacted product limits to help prevent product shortages in certain locations.
What this means for brands is that singular “shopping day” spikes might be a thing of the past. Retailers should now be prepared for a more distributed mix of days when it comes to overall traffic.
Alexandra is a Producer & Entertainment Correspondent at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alliecanal8193