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Grocery Shoppers Are Stockpiling, Again

Gina Acosta, Progressive Grocer
Grocery Shoppers Are Stockpiling, Again
Earlier this year, shortages plagued Whole Foods Market and most food retailers.

More than half of Americans say they are stockpiling groceries or plan to stockpile over worries about supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19 surges and political unrest due to the presidential election.

According to a new report from market research firm Sports and Leisure Research Group, roughly 52% of Americans plan to stockpile this fall. Of those who are stockpiling, the majority are concerned about an increase in infection rates, but a smaller share of people say they are worried about unrest surrounding the election next month.

“We still see a majority of Americans are concerned that we will see more spikes in COVID, and it's beginning to rear its head in a number of states,” says Jon Last, president of the Sports and Leisure Research Group. “At the same time, there is COVID fatigue.”

In August, Acosta reported on new research finding that 53% of shoppers plan to stock up if another pandemic shutdown occurs. 

More specifically, the new research found that:

  • 38% of consumers stocked up at the beginning of the pandemic and would do so again with a new shutdown.
  • 15% of consumers did not stock up earlier this year when the outbreak started but would do so if there is a new shutdown.
  • 17% stocked up at the beginning of the outbreak but will refrain from doing so again.
  • 24% didn’t stock up last time and have no plans of starting.

The main message from all that, according to Acosta?

Retailers should prepare.

"As COVID cases continue to rise, most shoppers believe we're headed for another shutdown and plan to respond accordingly, so retailers should be prepared for a new surge in stocking up," said Darian Pickett, CEO of North American sales at Acosta. "The pandemic will also significantly impact back-to-school shopping this year, and retailers will need to adapt to parents' new priorities and shopping preferences. Hand sanitizer, masks and gloves will be the most in-demand items, in addition to basic school supplies, and many will opt for online shopping and delivery options."

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