/ Is downtown back? What the data on 3 big CBDs say

With some people heading back to the office, we thought now would be a good time to take a look at the anonymized mobility data from Safegraph to understand if downtowns are bustling again.

For this analysis, we used Domo’s powerful data transformation tools to extract data for the Chicago Loop, Manhattan-Midtown, and Manhattan-Financial Districts zip codes—i.e, some of the biggest central business districts in the United States.

To focus our analysis a bit, the below visualizations are defaulted to “Snack and Nonalcoholic Beverage Bars,” which includes brands like Starbucks and Dunkin’ (615 locations across the three areas in our analysis group) and we have data loaded back to March 2020. While the average daily visits to these locations is up versus the prior year by over 40%, visits remains down compared to two years ago by over 60%.

Looking at this metric by month, we can see a bit of a rebound in November/December and then a dip again in January during the Omicron Wave. March has seen some rebound since then, but we are still looking at significantly less visits than two years ago. Of the three areas in our analysis group, Midtown Manhattan has fared marginally better than the other two.

The last visualization below shows the “Daily Average Visits per Location – by Day” for the current year, the prior year, and two years prior. The daily visits has been trending up in March, but we can also see the start of the pandemic two years ago as the red, two-year prior line is starting to drop in March.

If you are curious about different categories (such as hotels or museums), you can use the drop-downs to view the metrics for them in these same downtown areas. We will continue to update this data, so you can check back later this spring to see the progress downtown areas are making in their comebacks.

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