Normally distributed Groceries

 

Recently when looking up a grocery store on my phone on google maps I noticed the following graph on popular times.

Screenshot 2015-11-09 11.23.22

Google provides data/predictions for customers about when people typically visit the specific store. I am not sure how the data is collected, so if any one knows please share.

I used these graphs in a statistics lesson after I had introduced normal distributions. We talked about who this information is important to and estimated the standard deviation on a curve that looked normal. We discussed the missing information on the y-axis as well as how a store opened 24 hours would have a different standard deviation and possible shape to the graph. Then we looked at the rest of the week.

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The students were able to recognize patterns in the specific store and relate it to human behaviors in the work week, we estimated the mean for each graph. We also discussed other locations through Washington, DC and if they would have the same types of distributions. Would stores downtown have a different distribution from stores in the suburbs? Will all types of stores have a similar distribution based on location or is it more based on the type of store (for example, grocery, hardware, clothing).

It would be interesting to see how Thanksgiving preparation will affect the graphs.

2 thoughts on “Normally distributed Groceries

  1. David Ku

    I do agree that if the store is open for 24 hours that the standard deviation would be different.

    My guess on how Google gets its data would be location tracking. It would be probably be based on a phone user using Android or a google service while the user is inside the store (with a data plan on or access to Wi-Fi).

    Like

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