coronavirus in connecticut

COVID-19 Pandemic Costing CT Businesses Foot Traffic

Foot Traffic Declines Detected Through Cellphone Data

NBC Universal, Inc.

A company that tracks people's movements through cellphone data has found foot traffic at many Connecticut stores is down this holiday season.

Unacast, a company that analyzes customer foot traffic through cellphone data said this isn’t a hunch, it has become all but certain. Foot traffic is down in Connecticut stores anywhere from flat to down 20% compared to 2019, according to their numbers.

Len Besthoff
A quiet string of retail stores just days before Christmas

“If you talk about the retail categories that are seeing like very low foot traffic, it’s not a surprise.  It’s entertainment, it’s fitness, and it’s travel and hospitality”, said Thomas Walle. 

Walle, of Greenwich, is Unacast’s CEO.

Walle said the pandemic has been good news for sectors connected with what’s known as the “stay at home” trade.

“The retail categories that have seen through the pandemic very strong visitations is home goods improvement, we’ve seen grocery stores has really picked up, beauty stores, and health care. Over the summer started to see more foot traffic and more visitations”, Walle said.

The pandemic has proven we really like our pets.  

Unacast data says pet product sellers are the third “most recovered” retailer in Connecticut right now.

“Maybe a bit surprisingly over the last couple of months we see that pet stores is one of the categories that is increasing the most when it comes to foot traffic”, Walle added.

CNBC reported Americans are expected to spend $99 billion in 2020 on pet food, veterinary care, and more. 

Our sister network cited research showing people have brought home pets during the pandemic -- many of them dogs.  Half of the shoppers surveyed said they plan to get pet supplies and treats this holiday season, spending $90 on average.

“It’s a trend that’s been growing over the years and decades, that people are treating their pets as a family member, people get a lot from their pets, they get emotional benefits and they want to give that back to the pet,” California pet shop owner Lissa Shoun told CNBC.

Unacast says another retail sector right behind pet stores in Connecticut in terms of recovery have been car rentals and auto dealerships.

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