New Acosta Report Details the Evolving Impact of COVID-19 on Consumer Behavior

Research finds about 45% of consumers increased online grocery shopping during COVID-19, with 30% shopping less in-store

Acosta, a global integrated sales and marketing services provider in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry, today released its latest COVID-19 Shopper Insights report, COVID-19 Shopper Insights: Which Habits Are Sticking? The report examines pandemic-related shopping behaviors that are continuing to impact the CPG industry as COVID-19 evolves. According to Acosta’s research, about 45% of consumers have increased their online grocery shopping and reduced trips to traditional CPG channels since pre-pandemic, indicating convenience and safety remain important considerations for consumers.

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“COVID-19 has significantly impacted consumer behavior and accelerated trends we were seeing prior to March 2020,” said Colin Stewart, Executive Vice President, Business Intelligence at Acosta. “While many believe we’re headed towards normalcy, it is highly likely that certain pandemic-related shopping habits, particularly consumers’ reliance on eCommerce, are here to stay. Shoppers have become accustomed to ordering groceries online or through subscription services, with contact-free pickup or delivery options. As we move into a new phase of the pandemic, these grocery shopping channels will remain significant, as will consumers’ increasing focus on product availability, low prices and promotions, whether they are shopping in-store or online.”

Acosta is research provides insight into COVID-19-related shopping habits and perceptions. The report findings address key topics and include:

Grocery Shopping Channels

    • About 45% of consumers increased their online grocery shopping during the pandemic.
      • Forty percent of online shoppers are using online pickup and 46% are using online delivery more than they did pre-pandemic.
      • Thirty percent of online shoppers are shopping less at grocery stores than they were pre-pandemic.
      • Thirty-five percent of online shoppers are shopping less at mass merchandise stores than they were pre-pandemic.

Online Ordering Methods by Generation

  • The majority of shoppers place their online grocery orders on computers or tablets. Millennial and Gen Z shoppers are the most likely to use their phones for online grocery purchases (40%).
    • Fifty-two percent of Gen Z and Millennial shoppers place their online grocery orders on a computer, while 40% use their phone.
    • Sixty-six percent of Gen X shoppers place their online grocery orders on a computer, while 27% use their phone.
    • Eighty percent of Boomer shoppers and older generations place their online grocery orders on a computer, while 13% use their phone.

Order Fulfillment by Generation

  • Online shoppers across all generations report that home delivery is their online fulfillment method of choice. A large portion of Gen Z and Millennial shoppers also value subscription services (40%).
    • Forty-six percent of Gen Z and Millennial shoppers prefer home delivery; 40% prefer online subscriptions.
    • Forty-three percent of Gen X shoppers prefer home delivery; 29% prefer curbside pickup.
    • Forty-eight percent of Boomer shoppers and older generations prefer home delivery; 32% prefer curbside pickup.
  • Forty-five percent of all shoppers prefer home delivery as their fulfillment method of choice, 28% prefer curbside pickup and 17% will pick up inside the store.

Out-of-Stock Items

  • Many of today’s shoppers still notice fewer items in stock, most often when shopping in-store.
    • Fourteen percent of in-store shoppers say they often encounter out-of-stock items vs. 9% of online shoppers.
    • Fifty-two percent of in-store shoppers say they sometimes encounter out-of-stock items vs. 42% of online shoppers.
    • Thirty-one percent of in-store shoppers say they rarely encounter out-of-stock items vs. 39% of online shoppers.
    • Three percent of in-store shoppers say they never encounter out-of-stock items vs. 10% of online shoppers.

Acosta is COVID-19 Shopper Insights: Which Habits Are Sticking? report was gathered via online surveys using the company’s proprietary shopper community, conducted between July 1, 2021 and July 6, 2021.

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