Data shows most Amazon Fresh customers don’t shop at Whole Foods—and that’s a good thing for Amazon

By Michael Grothaus

August 04, 2021

While Amazon was one of the world’s biggest beneficiaries of the pandemic, with hundreds of millions of customers turning to it for their online shopping needs during lockdowns, one of Amazon’s other brands suffered greatly. A new report from foot traffic analytics firm Placer.ai reveals that Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market saw its foot traffic almost cut in half by April 2020—monthly visits were down 49% compared to the same time in 2019.

The good news for Amazon? Since then, Whole Foods has slowly regained lost foot traffic. While foot traffic is still down, the gap is closing. In May and June 2021, Whole Foods traffic was down 16.4% and 13.5%, respectively, from May and June 2019 numbers, with Placer.ai revealing the pace of foot traffic recovery is also increasing.

But perhaps the most interesting thing from Placer.ai’s report is its delve into Amazon’s other grocery initiative, Amazon Fresh, and how that retail brand compares to Whole Foods. Placer.ai’s data shows that most customers who shop in an Amazon Fresh never step foot in a Whole Foods. When looking at seven Amazon Fresh stores for the month of June 2021, the highest level of cross shopping was only 18.1% and the lowest was 7.5%. That means at most fewer than one in five Amazon fresh customers also spent their money at Whole Foods, with that number dropping to only one in ten at some locations.

But as Placer.ai notes, this lack of cross shopping between its grocery brands could be a good sign for Amazon’s grocery initiatives. “While cross shopping is always a nice thing to have between owned brands and can be used to create a bigger overall pie, a division of audience may be even better. Amazon seems to be effectively leveraging grocery assets to target different segments of the market,” Placer.ai’s report concludes, noting that with Whole Foods, Amazon has a lock on the more urban, high-income grocery shoppers and with Amazon Fresh, it targets another, completely different segment: grocery shoppers looking for convenience and cost savings.

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