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Retail, recreational activities went down 55.6% during lockdown, says Google data

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Google data between March 29 and April 11, 2020, shows that retail and recreational activities in Ghana went down by an average of 55.6%.

This is compared to baseline levels measured in January and February.

The data also showed a similar trend for travel to grocery and pharmacy stores and transit stations, which were down by an average of 33.9% and 50.3% respectively.

According to the rating agency, Fitch, while there was a slight reversion towards normality post-lockdown, consumers are still below average on their travels for retail-related activities.

“As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country and the fall in the price of oil, we have revised down our real household spending outlook for 2020 to 4.3% year-on-year, from the 4.9% we predicted pre-COVID-19”, it said.

This is significantly lower than the 11.9% it estimated for 2019.

This revision was based on the fact that all non-essential retail was shuttered for three weeks, while retail that was allowed to operate, saw significantly less traffic.

Supermarkets and grocery shops were classified as essential services, so they were allowed to operate during the three-week lockdown period.

The rating agency said in the week prior to the lockdown, there was evidence of bulk and panic buying at the leading mass grocery retailers.

Google mobility data shows that travel to grocery shops peaked at 14% above average on March 28, the day after lockdown.

However, for the period after the lockdown (March 27 to April 26), travel to grocery shops was down by an average of 32.8%, compared to the baseline.

“We believe that spending on alcoholic drinks will decline year-on-year. Social distancing and the closure of taverns, bars and restaurants meant that on-trade consumption would have dropped during the lockdown. These facilities remain closed.”

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