The clever trick which could help you avoid long supermarket queues during coronavirus crisis

Supermarket shoppers have had to endure lengthy queues as retailers limit the number of customers allowed inside to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Friday, 3rd April 2020, 10:58 am
Updated Wednesday, 15th April 2020, 12:09 pm

If you don’t fancy waiting outside there is a handy way to work out when the shops are likely to be quieter and you might be able to walk straight in.

Google uses customers’ data to produce bar charts showing how long you can expect to wait at different times of the day.

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Shoppers queue outside Sainsbury's (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

All you have to do is search for the store and scroll down to see the most popular times listed beneath the basic details like opening hours and above the reviews.

The estimated waiting time is not how long it is likely to get inside but how long you will typically wait to be served at the checkout.

It’s not a foolproof guide as popular times are based on average popularity over several weeks, and shopping habits have obviously changed considerably due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

An example of Google's popular times bar charts, showing when supermarkets are likely to be busiest

However, the live waiting times in pink are based on data uploaded in real time and are likely to give a good indication of how busy the shop is if you check this just before heading out.

Google’s data shows that for Tesco’s Spital Hill store on a Saturday, the peak wait is up to 15 minutes at 3pm, while for Sainsbury’s on Archer Road in Millhouses there is an expected wait of up to 20 minutes at the same time.

Morrisons advised customers earlier this week that it’s generally less busy later in the day.