Cafes allude to geographic patterns of home-based workers

OWant to know how many companies in a certain region are adopting remote working and a hybrid working model? The answer might be in the local cafe.

A Bank of America Institute report examines the overall state of the coffee industry in the post-pandemic world. And while you might think remote workers are filling stores for the occasional change of environment, the easier and faster it is to get a cup of joe, the better the chance that people in that area won’t visit. in the office.

“The logic is simple: people tend to have coffee during their morning commute and at other times of the day when working in the office,” the report says. “If they work from home, their demand for coffee products will likely decrease.”

Overall, coffee sales are still suffering from the pandemic. Retailers saw a huge drop in the early days of COVID-19. And while things have rebounded considerably since then, sales volume has plateaued in recent months and is still hovering below pre-pandemic levels today.

But in some corners of the country, there are some notable exceptions.

In California, Texas and North Carolina, the report says, coffee sales volume is well above pre-pandemic levels. In New York and Florida, however, it is considerably below that point. Some of the growth in Texas and North Carolina, Bank of America notes, could come from pandemic migration trends, but that’s unlikely to explain all the gains.

“This shift in the geographic pattern of demand that is implied by the increased prevalence of remote working continues to have implications for the economy even as the pandemic wanes,” says the BofA Institute.

When it comes to coffee consumption, about a third of the industry’s totals occur outside of the home. And according to the Working Conditions and Attitudes Survey (SWAA), which has been tracking working from home since the start of 2020, around a third of all paid work days are currently taking place from home.

“Whereas [workers] may somewhat substitute demand for coffee near the office with demand for coffee near home, overall they are less likely to go out for coffee if they can get it at home,” the report says. “Additionally, cafes also sell food, and again, people are more likely to prepare their own breakfast, lunch and snacks at home.”

While the BofA report focuses on coffee sales, it notes that go-juice is only a microcosm of the economy as a whole – and companies are returning to their pre-pandemic working arrangements. or adapt to a hybrid (or fully in-home) model, this could have wider ripple effects on the economy, regardless of the future strength of the pandemic.

And cafes are also useful for tracking current waves of COVID-19, as recent sales numbers can illustrate how companies are responding to the rise of Omicron sub-variants, such as BA.4 and BA.5. .

“In Midtown NYC, aggregate data from Bank of America merchants suggests that recent waves of Covid-19 have had less of an impact on the shift to working from home, as indicated by cafe sales volumes than the first wave. of the pandemic,” said the report reads. “Nevertheless, the data will be one to watch.”

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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