Store visits down, sales per visit up

Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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Shopper intelligence firm Catalina Marketing, St. Petersburg, Fla., has revealed new data that shows “panic buying” is slowing nationwide, as in-store traffic declines.

The company released data from its Buyer Intelligence Database, which reviews a balanced panel of 20,000 retail stores in the Catalina network to compare same week sales, year over year, across the country. The latest data covers 78 grocery and drug categories across the U.S., plus the District of Columbia, dating back to Feb. 15, roughly when coronavirus awareness and concerns started to grow, according to the company. 

In its latest numbers, Catalina found that following March 28, for the second straight week, shoppers made fewer trips to grocery and drug stores across the country, while spending more per visit, alluding to heavy stock-up trips. The numbers showed that for the period, total shopping trips are down 13% compared to a year ago, but spending per visit is up 31%, year over year.

Spending per store visit is up 31% for the week ending March 28.

Total sales dollars were up an average of 13% per store versus the same period a year ago.

Looking at specific categories, Catalina registered baking items with the largest surge in sales, with flour up 154% and baking mix sales up nearly 100%. Cleaning products were up 102%, compared to the year before.

Tied to its database, Catalina has also developed an interactive map that shows a state-by-state view of how the coronavirus pandemic is impacting shopper behaviors and decisions across the country. Retailers can access the map to study year-over-year break downs, state by state across the 78 categories.

“We are using this information to advise our retail and CPG customers on how best to manage their marketing and supply chain decisions during the crisis, and to better prepare them for when the country and the world emerge from it,” said Marta Cyhan, chief marketing officer, Catalina.

A look at Catalina's interactive map.