Americans Don’t Fear Shopping in Stores, Will Pay More for Items

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Americans Don’t Fear Shopping in Stores, Will Pay More for Items

By Bridget Goldschmidt - 04/20/2020
Americans Don’t Fear Shopping in Stores, Will Pay More for Items
Despite more shoppers using grocery e-commerce than ever before, the Toluna and Harris Interactive COVID-19 Barometer found that 70% of U.S. consumers are still shopping in stores for food

According to the Toluna and Harris Interactive COVID-19 Barometer, a biweekly index that taps into a community panel of 30 million-plus consumers, 70% of Americans are still shopping in brick-and-mortar stores for groceries, rather than shopping online. This might come as something as a surprise, considering the huge growth noted in online grocery shopping during the pandemic.

Unsurprisingly, frozen foods (65%), cleaning products (56%) and toilet paper (53%) continue to top Americans’ grocery lists, while a whopping 85% of those surveyed attribute shortages of items as hand sanitizer, pasta and toilet paper to other shoppers.

Asked how the coronavirus lockdown has affected their usual shopping habits, 60% of respondents have either gone without products or services, or paid more (47%) for something than they normally would. Eighteen-to-24-year-olds are much more intrepid than older Americans when it comes to trying new products when they can’t access a product or service during the pandemic. 

An overwhelming percentage of retailers (77%), service providers (75%) and brands (68%) are highly regarded in the United States, with survey respondents agreeing that all three have been informative, helpful and reassuring throughout the public health crisis. 

When a usual brand isn’t available and they’ve had to choose an alternative, respondents were evenly split on whether the particular brand was critical, with 56% saying it was and 44% saying it wasn’t.

The survey also revealed that shoppers are willing to purchase a different brand but not a different product in specific instances, especially with regard to personal toiletries, paper and canned goods. Almost half (49%) said that they won’t buy a different personal toiletry product such as deodorant, toothpaste and shampoo, but they’ll purchase a different brand. Meanhwile, 47% of respondents would purchase a different brand of paper products but not a different product, which, Toluna, noted might account for Americans’ hoarding of toilet paper. Additionally, 44% would buy a different brand of a canned goods such as peas, but weren’t willing to switch to a different product like spinach.

“Despite the social distancing and government warnings to stay home, Americans are still shopping for their groceries in store, and if they can’t easily find what they need, they are willing to pay more,” observed Lucia Juliano, head of CPG and retail research at Harris Interactive and Toluna. “The survey also reveals that paper and cleaning products continue to top America’s shopping lists which could explain why many stores and online retailers are experiencing shortages in these respective areas.  And yet, it’s very clear that consumers recognize retailers, service providers and brands are doing a phenomenal job working to get the public what they need and are communicating to their shoppers regularly and appropriately.”

The survey was last conducted April 9-14 and included 1,047 people in the United States,

Employing 1,400 people in 24 offices on six continents, Paris-based Toluna is a technology company connecting brands with consumers for digital qualitative and quantitative research. Rochester, N.Y.-based Harris Interactive is a full service digital research consultancy providing actionable consumer insights. Both are ITWP companies.