Food The best time to shop for groceries during the coronavirus pandemic is early morning, studies show

01:35  01 april  2020
01:35  01 april  2020 Source:   businessinsider.com

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Read on for grocery shopping tips in the time of social distancing and let us know in the comments what has worked best for you. If possible, plan your grocery trips during off-hours when social distancing is less difficult. Each location varies, so you can drive past the store at different times to

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a person standing in front of a store © Scott Olson/Getty Images
  • Experts recommend shopping at grocery stores when they may be less crowded.
  • Business Insider received insights from three companies dealing with consumer data - InMarket, Gongos, and CivicScience - to find out the least and most crowded times for grocery stores.
  • All three studies showed that the early morning is the least crowded time to shop, followed by late evening. Mid-afternoon is the most crowded time to shop.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Social distancing is more vital than ever now, but it can be difficult to keep the necessary six feet away from people in a crowded grocery store.

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However, experts say that the six-foot distance is non-negotiable, and one of the easiest way to ensure that you are able to maintain that distance is by going to the store when it's less crowded.

Business Insider reviewed data from three consumer studies to find out when would typically be the least crowded time to go shopping.

InMarket, a digital advertising company, analyzes anonymous location data from around 50 million cell phones to identify foot traffic patterns in retail. InMarket analyzed its location data to find the times when grocery stores were more or less crowded. 

The data collected by InMarket shows that 6 and 7 a.m. are the least crowded times to shop. However, since many chains are reserving early-morning hours for elderly and at-risk shoppers, the next least crowded time to shop is immediately after stores open to the general public, around 7:30 or 8 a.m.

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a screenshot of a cell phone © Courtesy of Inmarket

According to InMarket's data, the most crowded times to shop are at 3, 4, and 5 p.m. However, foot traffic heats up around noon, and stores stay high-traffic until 7 p.m.

Business Insider also asked Gongos, a marketing research agency, to conduct a poll of shoppers about their grocery shopping habits.

Gongos asked 170 people what time they found grocery stores to be least crowded. 28% of those surveyed said that 6 to 9 a.m. was the least busy time, while 23% said that 9 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. was the least busy time.

Both surveys' findings are also in line with the results of a survey Business Insider received from CivicScience.

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CivicScience is a consumer market intelligence firm that conducts large, census-representative surveys of adults and teenagers across the US. 4,861 shoppers participated in the CivicScience poll, which asked consumers what time they thought was best for grocery shopping 

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39% of respondents in the CivicScience poll said that early morning is the best time to go grocery shopping, while 28% said that there is no good time to shop for groceries.

The takeaway from all three studies is that early morning is percieved as the least busy period for grocery shopping - and that conclusion is backed up by foot traffic data. Any time between noon and dinnertime will be busy, with crowds peaking mid-afternoon. Then, just before closing, grocery stores see another period of relative quiet.

RELATED VIDEO: How to social distance while grocery shopping (via WMAZ-TV)

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