Acosta Finds More Than a Third of Shoppers Are Worse Off Financially Than They Were Pre-COVID-19

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New research finds Millennials are the hardest hit generation

Acosta, a leading full-service sales and marketing agency in the consumer packaged goods industry, released its eighth insight report on the continuing evolution of consumer behavior and outlook amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The report, which found low prices will be a priority for 45% of shoppers post-pandemic, also provides suggestions to help retailers best meet customers’ needs.

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“As the pandemic stretches on, we see the toll it has taken on shoppers financially. Millennials have been hit the hardest, with 43% of shoppers worse off than they were before the outbreak,” said Darian Pickett, CEO of Acosta. “A recession is here and will significantly impact the shopping habits of those affected. Low prices and promotions will be among the most important priorities for consumers post-COVID-19, though product availability remains their top concern.”

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Acosta’s eighth round of COVID-19 research, gathered via online surveys conducted between June 12 and 17, provides insight into consumers’ concerns and habits as well as recommendations to help retailers prepare for the future, including:

Mental & Financial Toll

  • As the pandemic continues, shoppers are far more cautious than optimistic about the future, with 64% looking ahead with caution and only 24% looking ahead with optimism.
  • The recession is adding stress for many shoppers, with 37% worse off financially than they were pre-pandemic —­ including nine percent who are much worse off.
  • Millennials are the hardest hit generation, with 43% worse off.

Health-Oriented Habits

  • Many shoppers have found time for more relaxation (53%) and more sleep (40%) during the pandemic.
  • Fitness and nutrition have posed more of a challenge, with 37% of shoppers exercising less and 33% eating less healthy than before.
  • Thirty-two percent of shoppers reported consuming more vitamins and supplements, while 21% are eating more natural, organic or vegetarian foods.

The Future of Retail

  • Shoppers reported product availability (53%), social distancing (48%), low prices (45%), customer safety (43%) and availability of promotions/deals (29%) will be their top priorities post-pandemic.
  • With product availability proving to be an ongoing issue, supply chain and SKU rationalization must be a priority for retailers.
  • Shopper focus on health, wellness and safety is more important than ever.
  • The shopping experience has been interrupted, and shoppers will welcome opportunities that make them feel “back to normal.”

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