COVID-19 Spurred Shoppers to Switch Retailers, Brands

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COVID-19 Spurred Shoppers to Switch Retailers, Brands

By Bridget Goldschmidt - 06/26/2020
COVID-19 Spurred Shoppers to Switch Retailers, Brands Advantage Sales
Six in 10 shoppers opted to try an alternative to their main retailer during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to recent consumer research by Advantage Sales.

Pandemic-fueled shortages, rising safety and financial worries, and evolving values have caused U.S. consumers to try other retailers and brands, and many of those shoppers intend to stick with their new choices, according to “Shoppers’ Response to COVID-19 and the Outlook for Change,” a recent report by Advantage Sales, a division of Irvine, California-based Advantage Solutions, a business solutions provider for manufacturers and retailers.

Six in 10 shoppers opted to try an alternative to their main retailer, either selecting another grocer’s physical store or online platform or Amazon amid the pandemic, the report found, citing the results of an online survey, fielded May 13-18 by Advantage Sales’ Analytics, Insights & Intelligence team, of 1,804 U.S. primary household shoppers and those who shared shopping responsibility.

While many shoppers went to other brick-and-mortar locations, stay-at-home recommendations, concern about contracting COVID-19 and in-store out-of-stocks caused a massive shift to online shopping via retailers’ websites or Amazon. Almost two-thirds (65%) of those surveyed said that they’ve purchased food and nonfoods online since the pandemic’s onset.

Although online shoppers encountered website issues, delivery delays and out-of-stocks, 15% of U.S. shoppers said they would make more than half of their food purchases online in the future.

Out-of-stocks and a change in retail locations also caused more than half (55%) of shoppers to look beyond their usual brands during this time. More than one-fourth (28%) of those shoppers said that they expected keep buying their new brands.

“The fallout of COVID-19 — stay-at-home guidance, supply chain disruptions fueled by panic buying and pantry filling, a fear of contracting the virus, and the sudden surge in unemployment — has shifted the way Americans shop, where they shop and what they are buying,” affirmed Kimberly Senter, EVP, analytics, insights and intelligence for Advantage Sales. “What’s more, according to our survey results, they plan to maintain many of their new shopping habits in the months to come.”

The report additionally found:

  • Changes in shopper behavior are connected to where shoppers live and how hard their area was hit by COVID-19.
  • One-third of shoppers intend to spend more on groceries in the next few months.
  • Store brands are rising in popularity, including among affluent U.S. consumers.

A study released in May by New York-based research consultancy Magid came to similar conclusions on consumers’ relation to food retailers and brands in response to the coronavirus.