Global Study Reveals Profound Shifts in Shopper Behaviors Likely to Persist Post Pandemic

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Respondents in Brazil, France, Germany, the U.K., and the U.S. express heightened price sensitivity, economic insecurity, and suspicion of unfair retail prices

For retailers already navigating gale-force winds caused by the whipsawing shopper, competitors, and market changes, there is no end in sight. A recent global shopper study conducted by Progressive Grocer and its parent company EnsembleIQ uncovers startling shifts in shopper behaviors occurring during the COVID-19 era, many of them likely to persist well beyond the pandemic.

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The results of the DemandTec-commissioned study, which surveyed shoppers in Brazil, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States, present retailers with clear and urgent imperatives. Among the most head-turning findings:

1. There has been a dramatic five-fold increase in shoppers who say they primarily shop online, rather than in-store, during COVID, from 7% to 35%. After so many months of changed behaviors, they are very unlikely to return to pre-COVID shopping patterns. Retailers must make online commerce a cornerstone of their ongoing strategy, including sourcing science-based dynamic pricing capabilities that move at the pace of ecommerce.

2. While shoppers were very price-sensitive even prior to the pandemic, they are even more price-sensitive today. More shoppers rank price as the #1 most important factor contributing to their overall shopping experience than any other factor, trailed by product quality and product availability as #2 and #3.

3. The pandemic-induced reduction in shopper income will keep shoppers keenly price-aware. Today, a whopping 41% of shoppers report a lower income than pre-COVID, and females at 45% are more likely to report reduced income than males.

“This hot-off-the-press study confirms how profoundly COVID-19 has shaken up traditional shopper behaviors and retail assumptions, and how fundamentally changed the shopper’s behavior will be even post-pandemic,” said DemandTec President Cheryl Sullivan. “Retailers today must have science-based, full-price lifecycle optimization in place so science can rapidly gain insight into fast-changing shopper, market, and competitive conditions and adjust prices to an optimal state. Without science, they risk losing out to retailers who leverage optimization capabilities to present shoppers with prices and promotions that are relevant to them.”

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