The first study cited by Business Insider and conducted by digital advertising company InMarket, has data that shoppers can use to take that into consideration.
After analyzing anonymous location data from about 50 million cellphones to pinpoint foot traffic inside retailers, the company discovered that 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. are the least crowded shopping times. The next best time to shop for minimal crowds is 7:30 a.m. or 8 a.m., which is just after many stores open to the general public following special shopping hours.
InMarket data show the most crowded shopping occurs at 3 p.m., 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. At noon, foot traffic also increases and ony begins to dwindle around 7 p.m.
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Next is Gongos, which polled people about their grocery shopping patterns and what time they found the store to have the least shoppers. Of the 170 people the marketing research agency talked to, 28% found stores were least busy 6–9 a.m. A slightly smaller percentage — 23% — said 9 a.m. to noon was the least busy in grocers.
For the final study, consumer market intelligence firm CivicScience conducted a poll in which 4,861 shoppers participated. Participants were asked which time they believed was the best to buy groceries.
Of those polled, 39% said early morning was the best time to shop. Meanwhile, 28% of respondents said no time was a good time to go to the grocery store.
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The studies found that aside from early morning hours, shoppers can catch another break from the crowds if they visit just before closing.
However, if shoppers want to steer clear of crowds it’s best to skip getting groceries between noon and dinnertime — especially midafternoon, when shopping reaches its height.