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SafeGraph Community's Holiday Datathon 2021: Top 5 Submissions

December 23, 2021
Hayden Mortimer

The SafeGraph Community is a group of data enthusiasts, ranging from data scientists to industry experts to researchers and everything in between. In the spirit of the holidays, the Community hosted a festively themed datathon. The prompt was broad; we requested participants to work on a mini data science project using SafeGraph data to look at interesting trends during the holiday season. 

The following is a list of the top 5 submissions and announcement of the Holiday Datathon Winner, Negin Zarbakhsh.

1. Activity at Amazon distribution centers leading up to the holiday seasons in 2018, 2019, and 2020

Winning submission by: Negin Zarbakhsh, University College Dublin

Goal: To analyze foot traffic at Amazon distribution centers in Oklahoma City during the lead up to holiday shopping in 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Results: In 2020, there were fewer people in stores and there had been a significant increase in activities at Amazon's distribution centers from 2018 to 2020.

Graph of activities at Amazon distribution centers
Graphs by Negin Zarbakhsh

2. Impact of holiday drinks on Starbucks foot traffic in Toronto, Canada

Submission by: Vinyas Harish, University of Toronto

Goal: To understand the impact of releasing holiday drinks on foot traffic to Starbucks cafes in Toronto, Canada.

Results: There was a small but statistically significant increase in the median number of visits and median number of unique visitors to Starbucks locations in Toronto the week after holiday drinks were released. 

Chart showing the impact of holiday drinks on number of visits to TO Starbucks
Box plot by Vinyas Harish
Chart showing the impact of holiday drinks on number of unique visitors to TO Starbucks
Box plot by Vinyas Harish

3. Foot traffic to liquor stores during the holiday season in South Carolina

Submitted by: Lan Lan and Jiayun Shen, Clemson University

Goal: To determine if foot traffic to liquor stores in South Carolina increases around the holidays.

Results: Liquor stores in more rural regions of South Carolina experienced the most foot traffic during the holidays.

Chart showing raw visit count to liquor stores in South Carolina
Graph by Lan Lan and Jiayun Shen

4. Visits to parks in Portland during the 2020 Christmas week

Submitted by: Angela Rout, University of British Columbia

Goal: To learn more about park visitors over Christmas week 2020 within the Portland Metropolitan Area.

Results: People in Portland traveled around 10 km to visit a park over the 2020 Christmas week.

Multiple graphs showing visits to parks in Portland
Graphs by Angela Rout

5. Visitors distance from home to NYC retail locations during Black Friday week 2019

Submitted by: Saksham Singh Kushwaha, New York University

Goal: To analyze the effect of Black Friday on different categories of businesses in NYC.

Results: On Black Friday visitors traveled further from home compared to other Fridays in November 2019 not only to get to clothing stores, but also drinking places, restaurants, gas stations, electronics stores, and more.

Graph showing visitors' distance from home to retail locations
Graph by Saksham Singh Kushwaha

We thank all members of the SafeGraph Community who participated in the Holiday Datathon. Analyses from our Community always get us excited about the endless interesting ways SafeGraph data can be used to understand the world around us.

If you’re interested in participating in a future datathon, visit our community site to learn more about how to get involved. Create your own holiday data story by heading over to SafeGraph and downloading a dataset - use ‘HOLIDAYS2021’ at checkout for 25% off.

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