By Steve Markenson, Director, Research, FMI
Even in the best of times, most of us would like the ability to take a peek into the future. However, during these unprecedented times, the desire to know what is going to happen next increases dramatically. Since March 21, 2020, FMI has been conducting online surveys to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the behaviors of grocery shopper. The results have provided insights into how grocery shoppers have and continue to modify their grocery shopping behavior.
Asking consumers to look into their crystal ball
In our most recent survey, we asked consumers to imagine a future when their community is able to be far less concerned about the coronavirus, and businesses are able to resume normal hours and practices. With this in mind, we asked shoppers to consider their pre-COVID-19 shopping patterns and speculate about what pandemic-driven shopping habits they expected to retain. Here are some of the results:
- Online: A majority of consumers expect they will return to their pre-pandemic levels of ordering groceries online for delivery (57%) or pickup (59%). While some (27% for delivery, 24% for pickup) say they expect to be ordering more groceries online in the future, there are almost as many saying they expect to order less groceries online (16%, 18%).
- In-Store: Similar to online, most consumers (50%) expect they will return to their pre-pandemic levels of in-store grocery shopping. The remaining consumers are almost equally divided between shopping more (28%) and shopping less (22%) in-store for groceries in the future.
Given the number of unpredictable variables still in play – anticipating exactly what the future will look like is impossible, but one piece of data we can gather is how grocery shoppers anticipate they will behave in different scenarios. That at least connects some of the edge pieces together and establishes the beginning framework of the 1,000-piece puzzle we have yet to put together.
FMI will be continuing to track shopper expectations and behaviors over the coming weeks. Stay tuned for more insights from the shoppers’ perspective.U.S. Grocery Shoppers Trends COVID-19 Tracker