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The Road to Recovery

The Foursquare Recovery Index shows the places consumers go to first as stay-at-home restrictions are lifted across the country

Written by Foursquare on May 20, 2020 - Read time: 5 min - Read Later

As COVID-19-related stay-at-home orders begin to lift, shifting real world behavior will be a critical indicator of economic recovery. How and when people start returning to different places will offer essential information as businesses and organizations strategize for the future.

To help brands, agencies, platforms, governments, media, and more quantify this behavior, we’re launching the Foursquare Recovery Index, a free tool that showcases the change in foot traffic by state, category and date to see relative upticks or declines in visitation that can indicate recovery. The Index shows changes in visitation week over week and since a pre-pandemic baseline period in February 2020.

As an example, consider the state of Georgia, which began reopening non-essential businesses on Friday, April 24. By May 13, visits to hair salons and barbershops were up 10.5% versus pre-COVID-19, indicating a pent up demand for places offering health and personal care services. Location data is able to reliably and accurately show the rate at which these upticks – and economic recovery – may continue.

“The Foursquare Recovery Index is a resource that showcases the role location data plays as brands work to recapture consumers’ attention as they rebuild their muscle memory around offline consumption in a post-pandemic world,” said David Shim, CEO, Foursquare. “Post-COVID-19, location data will be essential as brands and business owners in every category seek to understand foot traffic patterns  and evolve their strategies to meet the needs of their customers in a changed world.”

Recovery Index Methodology

The Recovery Index is powered by Foursquare’s U.S. foot traffic data from millions of consumers that make up its always-on panel. All data is normalized against the U.S. Census data to remove any age, gender and geographical bias, projecting visits based on each users’ profile representation in the panel relative to census.

Foot traffic data is represented as a percentage change over time -- week over week, year over year, or as compared to a baseline period in February 2020 (averaging daily visits on that same day of the week through February). Increases or decreases are corroborated with a measure of statistical significance. In this case, we are simply testing for a difference in means, given “n” size, effect size, and variance. 

Categories can be seen on Foursquare's Explore page. For example, if you are looking at data for Big Box stores and are wondering what that means, you can look up Big Box Stores in Foursquare Explore here.


If you’d like to learn more about the Foursquare Recovery Index, or about how Foursquare can help use  location in your strategic planning and campaigns, contact us at hi@foursquare.com.

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