The current COVID-19 crisis generates highly fluctuating demand in stores. While fashion retail and department stores are suffering, grocers are currently on the other side of the spectrum. To call it “flourishing” might be a stretch, but at least they’re not losing.
We’ve collected and analyzed millions of in-store shopper tracks across Europe and the United States, and witnessed a clear change in behavior – we’ve all seen shoppers overwhelming supermarkets, fighting over the last roll of toilet paper. While today’s European shopper typically prefers multiple smaller grocery trips and becoming inspired, we see the opposite happening these past weeks: People avoid going in stores unless it’s absolutely necessary, and they stock up enough supplies for the week(s) to come. It might be an exceptional situation now, but it will be key to follow the trend as time goes by and to measure how this plays out in the long term.
As North America is a few weeks behind Europe on the crisis timeline, there are some key customer behavior trends that have emerged in Europe and can be a lesson for North American retailers, in preparation for what’s to come.