Christmas rush? Mobility data show Pinoys in urban areas flocking to groceries

For a country known for its early and long Christmas celebration, the Philippines saw people in urban areas returning to groceries in mid-December in numbers not seen before quarantine lockdowns in the first quarter of 2020.

Bacolod recorded the highest percentage recovery on December 19 at +26% of visits to Groceries and Pharmacies, according to mobility data gathered by Google. This means that visits to these locations were even higher compared to the baseline period taken in January 2020.

Visits to Groceries and Pharmacies in PH urban areas

Other urban areas that have recorded visits in higher percentages compared with the baseline are Pampanga at +21% on December 20, Metro Manila at +15% on December 20, Cagayan de Oro at +11% on December 19, Davao City at +10% on December 19. Iloilo City matched the baseline of Groceries and Pharmacies visit on December 16.

Metro Cebu’s highest percentage recovery is at -2% on December 20. Baguio City is still way down, logging only a -13% on December 17 as its highest recovery. This means that for these two urban areas, visits to Groceries and Pharmacies still have not exceeded those recorded during the baseline period in January 2020.

Visits to Groceries & Pharmacies in different urban centers

Only visits to Groceries and Pharmacies have recovered in terms of percentages to match or even exceed the visits before the quarantine. The other locations Retail and Recreation (which covers restaurants), Parks (which includes beaches), Transit Stations, Workplaces are still substantially down compared with the baseline.

The data is gathered from users of Google Maps. The changes are calculated by Google “using the same kind of aggregated and anonymized data used to show popular times for places in Google Maps.”

It was made available by Google to help inform governments and institutions in the fight against COVID-19.

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