Visits to downtown Starbucks locations, a proxy for return-to-work behavior, remained 30-80% lower in January 2023 compared to 2019 averages according to Earnest Analytics’ foot traffic data. San Francisco and Chicago downtown areas recovered the least compared to 2019, with indexed visits largely stalled. New York City’s downtown, which includes the Financial District and Midtown, was the third least recovered. However, visits in downtown New York City are recovering more steeply than other major cities. Philadelphia also stood out with a relatively upward sloping recovery in visits to downtown Starbucks locations. Visit recovery to downtown Miami locations, in contrast, have stalled.
Suburbs continued to outperform downtown visits despite tracking closely before the pandemic. Chicago and San Francisco had the widest spreads between the downtown and suburban visits recovery. The difference between downtown and suburban performance is relatively steady for most cities, with the exception of Miami and San Francisco. Visits trends in those cities are diverging as suburban locations outpace the downtown recovery.