What Cake user data teaches us about the effects of Corona

By Jessica Ruelens

Cake has a unique business model that makes you money. We process the anonymized transaction data of all Cake users into statistics and insights that we sell to companies. We are not only sharing this revenue with you. We are also happy to share those insights with you!

Cake has a unique business model. We process the anonymized transaction data of all Cake users into statistics and insights that we sell to companies. You can read how we do this and what exactly they are shown here.  

The nice thing is that we share that revenue with all Cake users. We think that’s just fair when we use your data to generate these reports. It makes sense, right? The average Cake user already earned €7.38. 

We have already processed over 1.7 million transactions for a total value of over 525 million euros. And this provides a lot of interesting insights!

For example, about the effects of the corona crisis on our spending behaviour. And we are happy to share those insights with you as well. Because the better we are aware of our own behaviour, and that of others, the better decisions we can make. And that can only benefit our financial well-being.

Effects corona crisis

The anonymized transaction data of Cake users teach us a lot about the effects of the crisis.

For example, we notice that the average Cake user has been spending less since the beginning of the crisis. Whereas the average spend for the week of March 2 was €392, the average spend for the week of March 16 was only €269.

Below you can see the average amount a Cake user daily spends. The spending fluctuates very much per day of the week with the smallest spending on Sundays.

If we look specifically at grocery purchases, we see shifts. The average “shopping basket” (by this we mean the amount one pays at the checkout at a time) has increased a lot compared to the period before the crisis. We notice the first big peak on March 12th. That was the day when people started hoarding massively. The average shopping basket for food that day was €57.63 while in January and February of this year the average was only €24.40.

The graph below shows the same but only for the most important supermarket brands (Carrefour, Colruyt, Spar, Spar Express, Delhaize, Lidl, Aldi, Okay, Albert Heijn). And you can see that the purchase value of the average shopping basket there is even higher. On the 12th of March it was €67.84 compared to €27.66 on average in the first 2 months of this year.

Below we made the analysis per weekday (again at the most important supermarket chains). And then you see, for example, that the average supermarket shopping basket on Thursdays since 12 March is €58, whereas the average shopping basket on Thursdays before the corona measures was only €27.

Of course, the measures have a major effect on the restaurant and pub business. Below you can see the index of spending, the total number of customers and the total number of transactions compared to Thursday 5 March (the starting point of the graph). 5 March was about a week before cafés and restaurants had to close their doors. This graph shows that pub and restaurant spending has virtually come to a standstill and that there is only recently some increased spending in the weekend. More restaurants have switched to pick-up or home delivery, which may have caused this effect. 

If we have a look at the category home improvement and garden, we can clearly see the effects of the measures there as well. The index is again calculated on 5 March. The shops only had to close their doors on 21 March. In the week of 16 March, they were still open on weekdays and a large peak is visible. Garden shops that also sold products for animals were allowed to stay open. Do-it-yourself shops and all garden shops were allowed to reopen on 20 April. We see an enormous peak in spending on Saturday 25 April and 2 May: in fact 5 times as much was spent as on 5 March.

As far as clothing purchases are concerned, we also see a strong effect. Despite the fact that the stores were still open in the week of March 16, we already see a drop of 40% in spending. After the mandatory closure this drops even further. The purchases that were registered are mainly through online sales, but these do not compensate for the decline. In the online sales Zalando was the big winner. Before the crisis they accounted for 6% of all transactions in the clothing category, now they account for almost half (49%) of all clothing transactions. 

The chart below shows which spending categories have decreased since the start of the crisis (left, the losers) and increased (right, the winners). The size of the circles reflects the relative size of the category: the larger the circle, the more money was spent in that category. For example, we see that 40% more was spent on food (Groceries) than before the crisis, and that in total the highest amount of money was spent in that category. And we notice that spending on fuel (Gas and fuel) is a lot lower than before the crisis (a decrease of about 55%) and that total spending in that category is also limited.


It is not only our commercial partners who find the insights they can get from the Cake transaction data interesting. The press is also increasingly finding its way to Cake. Because the transaction data is collected in real time and is based on real behavior and not on what people claim to have bought (as for example in an online survey) they are very valuable to see certain trends. And so in recent weeks we also regularly received questions about the effects of the corona crisis. We tried to answer them as best we could by providing them with information like the one above.

And so, several articles have appeared in which Cake reports were used. These include Het Nieuwsblad, Het Laatste Nieuws and VRTnws

But also trade organizations like Gondola and Comeos already made use of the Cake analyses. Such as this analysis Gondola made based on Cake figures as a result of the reopening of the Do It Yourself business.


We will continue to share with you this kind of insights in the future. Our number of users is growing every day, which is good news, because the more Cake users there are, the more diverse transactions we can analyse and the more valuable and reliable the information that appears in the reports. 

So, thanks for using Cake! You’re the best! 👊

👉 If you are interested in the insights Cake can provide for your company or brand, please contact Tom (tom@cake.app).

Download the Cake app in the App Store and on Google Play and if you like it, do not hesitate to write a review! 📝