06/29/2021 data sizes up how pharmacy foot traffic is faring

David Salazar
Managing Editor
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A new analysis of foot traffic data from is examining whether foot traffic is rebounding at the country’s leading drug retailers. While the data shows both Walgreens and CVS making improvements over the course of the year and seeing gains in monthly visits of roughly 14% over May 2019, Rite Aid, while improving since January, saw monthly foot traffic down 20% in from May 2019. 

The analysis, shared in a blog post from vice president of marketing Ethan Chernofsky, noted that all of the chains are seeing improvements in monthly visits since the beginning of the year, which began with CVS Pharmacy and Walgreens down 3.6% and 7.9% from 2019, respectively, and Rite Aid’s monthly visits down 38.2% from January 2019. 

While COVID-19 vaccination numbers are improving and playing a role in people returning to stores, Chernofsky noted that the larger role these chains play in the retail ecosystem is equally critical to the rebound. 

“Pharmacy locations are heavily centered around daily routines, and the return of work and school is providing a lift,” Chernofsky wrote. “These brands are also exceptionally well aligned with key trends like a growing focus on health and wellness. But the secret weapon may be the wide variety of goods on offer. Pharmacy locations offer a wide range of daily necessities, meaning that a stop for a medicine can easily turn into a much larger basket as visitors make their way through the aisles.”

Chernofsky noted that even through Rite Aid vists remain down when compared with 2019, there has been a marked improvement just since January. The company began the year with weekly visits down 41.1% and 37% in the first two weeks of February, respectively. The weeks of May 31 and June 7 showed significant improvement, with visits only down 18.3% and 18.1%, respectively, compared with the same weeks in 2019. 

“This is a massive improvement on visits from the first two weeks of February when visits were down 41.1% and 37.0% respectively,” Chernofsky wrote. “If the brand can maintain the trajectory as residents and commuters return to cities, the impact could be significant.

To see the full blog post, click here