Shopping Habits and the Pandemic: Don’t Believe the Hype!
There’s no doubt about it; the pandemic has shifted the way we shop for some items – for example, we have no choice but to purchase non-essential items online, and we are growing more and more accustomed to doing so. Additionally, the way we pay is changing, but the cashless society discussion is another matter. In any case, we have seen some epic changes in this last year, many of which are expected to last even after the pandemic ends.
But despite the combined forces of the health and financial crisis disrupting buying patterns and accelerating new trends - it looks like where groceries are concerned; consumer behaviour has remained a lot more consistent with ‘normal times’ than you might be inclined to think.
67% of people still shop ‘in store’ despite the pandemic!
And bulk buying? No. Regular shopping still reigns supreme, with 90% of people saying they still shop once a week or more.
We have been at the heart of domestic retail for over 40 years, which connects us to thousands of past and current customers. This means that we witnessed the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic throughout 2020 and in 2021 first hand, from both a business impact and consumer reaction point of view.
With all of this in mind, we decided to establish the DB Domestics annual survey, starting with a look into domestic shopping habits has a result of the pandemic.
This initial survey was finally completed by over 400 people across East Sussex and the South East, and it found that:
67% of people are still shopping in store, despite the pandemic
90% of people are still shopping once a week or more
That is 61% once per week and 29% more than once
68% of people say they haven’t changed their habits from last year
And 64% of people who have changed their habits, say that it isn’t because of the pandemic!
Not scared, but still prepared: Further findings…
Although the findings of our research have suggested that the pandemic has had surprisingly little effect on consumer behaviour in relation to grocery shopping habits (perhaps this can be attributed to that fact that there is a lack of change required as stores remain open?), there is evidence to suggest that people are planning for differences, with 57% of respondents having bought a new refrigeration solution to support bulk buying, and 43% having replaced their cooker to support more home cooked meals.
Our research findings are interesting in the sense that they throw in to question the commonly held assumption that consumers are currently experiencing higher levels of ‘in-store’ stress, causing them both to a) avoid stores and b) shop less frequently (bulk buy).
Also interesting is the fact that despite behaviours remaining surprisingly consistent with more ‘normal times’; the large amount of respondents who reported purchasing appliances to support bulk buying would seem to suggest that although consumers are not behaving as differently as we might have thought; they are still somewhat ‘influenced by the narrative’ and/or anticipating change.
Full Annual Survey Questions and Answers
How many people live in your household?
· 1-3 – 84%
· 4-6 – 15%
· 7-10 – 1%
How often do you shop for household groceries?
· Once a month – 2%
· Once every two weeks – 8%
· Once a week – 61%
· More than once a week – 29%
When you do shop for household groceries, what is your most frequent preferred method?
· In store – 67%
· Online – 33%
Are these habits different from last year?
· Yes - 32%
· No – 68%
If yes, is that change in behaviour because of the Coronavirus Pandemic?
· Yes- 36%
· No – 64%
Do any of these apply?
· There is a new cooker in my/our home to support more home cooked meals – 43%
· I/we have invested in additional refrigeration to support bulk buying – 57%
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