Another round of storage may be in store for grocers
Grocery retailers could face another wave of consumer stockpiling as COVID-19 infection rates rise nationwide due to the rapid spread of the Delta variant, new research from Inmar Intelligence.
Of 1,000 U.S. adults surveyed, 69.4% said they plan to replenish a current stock of groceries and other essentials as transmission of the Delta variant increases, Inmar said in the report. study published this week. Forty-six percent have created a stockpile of products in response to the coronavirus, and 12% of those who have not said they will now source due to the Delta variant. Another 32.8% said they were unsure if they would increase their supplies.
“We have all lived in uncertainty during the pandemic for over a year now. We thought we were going in the right direction, but now there is another push with the Delta variant that is once again making consumers nervous, ”said Holly Pavlika, senior vice president of corporate marketing at Inmar, in an email about the July 30 survey. results.
Sixty percent of consumers surveyed said they still have products in stock that they created due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Winston-Salem, North Carolina said. Looking ahead, an even higher percentage of respondents – 65% – said they now plan to always have a stockpile of food and supplies for emergencies like the pandemic. Another 15.7% were unsure whether to create an emergency supply in the future.
About 27.9% of shoppers surveyed said they were considering building a stock because the rapid spread of the Delta variant worried them about going to the grocery store. Other concerns prompting consumers to stock up included rising prices (cited by 18.1%), weak current supplies (19.1%), and the possibility that the products they want might not be available. when needed (27.9%).
Almost three-quarters of those surveyed (74.7%) said they are currently experiencing product shortages when shopping.
“Beyond the fear of leaving their homes to shop for groceries, 30% of those surveyed said they were accumulating stocks because they feared that the products they needed were out of stock, and 18% fear that prices will increase. Pavlika said. “Overall, we have created a new segment of buyers: ‘the squirrel’, who will always have a hiding place in their home. “
Media coverage of COVID-19 and other current events (rising gasoline prices and consumers, politics, crime, natural disasters, etc.) has prompted many Americans to stock up on food and essential supplies , Inmar’s investigation revealed. Half of those polled said media reports “fully influence” their storage decisions, while 34.6% said news “somewhat influences” their decision to store. Recommendations from family (64.6%) and friends (52.2%) also led buyers to create a stock. Consumers also said their coworkers (25.9%) and social media posts (34.8%) pushed them to stock up.
Fluctuating COVID-19 infection rates across the country and vaccine reluctance among many Americans are also pushing consumers to start stocking again, Pavlika said. Only about half of the total population of the United States is fully vaccinated against the virus, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“COVID [transmission] certainly played a big role in this, starting with the early days when shoppers went to stores to find many empty shelves and in some cases those shelves did not return to pre-pandemic supplies ” , she explained. “Many Americans are also concerned that not everyone will be vaccinated in stores, especially older consumers or those who already have health problems.”
Among the products already present or to be added to a stock, consumers cited toilet paper (72.1%), hand sanitizer (62%), paper towels (54.6%), soap (50.4%) and disinfectant wipes (49.7%). Other products in buyers’ current inventories or expected to be purchased included canned goods (46%), medical supplies (44.3%), tissues (41.3%), pet care ( 36.8%), pasta (34.1%), beer / wine / alcohol (22.8%) and baby care (18%).
Inmar said items in the next round of consumer storage that are not their first include frozen foods, shelf-stable foods, face masks, bottled water, plastic plates / cups. , meat, fresh produce, ice cream, candy, soda, personal products cleaning products, laundry detergent, vitamins, candles, first aid, portable batteries and chargers, and seeds to grow their own food.
When buying products to stock, about the same percentage of consumers said they will go to stores (46.4%) or shop online (46.6%). About 21% of online shoppers plan to use a curbside service.
Although the arrival of COVID vaccines and the easing of restrictions have brought more consumers and slowed the growth of online grocery shopping, the pandemic has reinforced an omnichannel mindset among shoppers, according to Pavlika.
“Our research has shown that the hybrid buyer is here to stay. Research we did in early July showed that 86% of those surveyed said they would go back to in-store groceries, while the remaining 14% said they wouldn’t because they didn’t. would not feel safe or would not have time to go to stores, ”she said. With the hybrid buyer, they choose the channel that matches their current needs. Convenience has always been the # 1 desire of buyers.
“The spread of the Delta variant will most likely affect buying behavior in geographies that are experiencing huge peaks,” Pavlika added. “Mask warrants will most likely be the norm for the foreseeable future until we get this under control. And with the uncertainty, online grocery sales are likely to see an increase.”