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09/01/2021

Placer.ai data reveals how three big cities are recovering from the pandemic

Marianne Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
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New data from Placer.ai shows that nation's three largest cities are beginning to bounce back from the pandemic.

The biggest cities in the U.S. continue to mount a comeback from the pandemic.

That’s according to new data from foot traffic analytics firm Placer.ai’s COVID Recovery Dashboard, a tool that measures retail and tourist foot traffic in cities across the country. In a blog post titled “How Is Retail in America’s Three Largest Cities Recovering from COVID?”, Placer.ai analyzed data, which showed that the three largest cities in America — New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago — are bouncing back in a big way from the pandemic.

But there’s still some ground to make up, in many respects, according to the post.  For instance, when looking at monthly retail visits, only Chicago has fully recovered, with retail visits up 0.2% for the same timeframe. By comparison, Los Angeles saw foot traffic down 3% during July compared to July 2019 and in New York, foot traffic down more than 8%.

But although these numbers don’t represent a full recovery, they are the smallest visit gaps either city has seen since the start of the year – indicating that retail in NYC and LA is definitely headed in the right direction,” Shira Petrack author of the blog. “This is especially important considering the shifts both cities saw in migration patterns combined with tourism declines and shifts in work routines.”

The data also shows that certain types of stores in New York City have completed their pandemic comebacks, and then some. Spa and beauty venues, superstores, and home improvement stores are all seeing foot traffic above pre-pandemic levels. But those in the leisure and office supplies category still have the most ground to make up.

In Chicago and L.A., certain neighborhoods are still struggling to shake off the pandemic. But others are bustling. In L.A., for example, Century City and the Hollywood Media District are seeing crowds bigger than in 2019, and one of Chicago’s most visited areas is the city’s West Town Chamber of Commerce area, with foot traffic up 50% during the week of Aug. 9 compared to the same week in 2019.