For Gravy Analytics, based in Dulles, VA, the DC Metro area is home. We all know someone affected by last month’s government shutdown – the longest ever. We wondered what mobile location data could tell us about the shutdown’s impact on consumer behavior. Where did people go – or not go – while the shutdown was in effect?
Here is what we found:
In the DC Metro area, foot traffic at commercial locations of interest was down 17% during the government shutdown, when compared with the same period the year prior.
This decline was reflected across multiple place categories – including retail stores, restaurants, and hotels. While the drop in foot traffic was measurable right from the start, it became more pronounced in the final days as the shutdown wore on.
Higher-end place categories, like fine dining and luxury hotels, were more affected than their budget counterparts. Categories that might be considered discretionary, such as electronics retailers and coffee shops, also saw greater declines than more basic needs.
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We also looked at the same data for the US, in total. In contrast to what was happening in the DC Metro area, year-over-year variances nationwide were both 1) less pronounced and 2) often positive.
Businesses in the DC metro area felt the effects of the government shutdown ahead of the rest of the country. With a possible second shutdown looming, and active budget negotiations underway, we’re keeping our fingers crossed that our elected representatives reach an agreement to keep the government running – and the local economy moving.
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