By: Steve Markenson, Director, Research & Insights, FMI
Over the past two and a half years, grocery shoppers have maintained their resilience in the face of incredible stress navigating a public health emergency. The dictionary defines resilient as, “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.” Certainly, shoppers have embodied this definition by protecting their own personal health and even navigating the business and operational challenges they’ve experienced in stores, such as their personal experiences with out-of-stocks. If a pandemic wasn’t enough, shoppers faced more concerns regarding the war in Ukraine’s long-term impact on the food supply and historic levels of inflation, particularly impacting food prices. I think it is fair to define the U.S. grocery shopper as a tough group that is quite resilient in the face of these challenges.
With the release of our latest report from the FMI U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2022: Back to School, the facts about shoppers’ resiliency speak for themselves:
- Across household types, more shoppers are taking steps to manage price increases than in February 2022.
- In addition to searching for deals, shoppers are more likely to say they are purchasing fewer items and more store brands as compared to February 2022.
- Loyalty programs are not typically used as cost savers, but most shoppers find them valuable.
COVID-19 concerns continue to decline, but slowly, bringing some lasting changes to grocery shopping.
- The number of shoppers expressing concern with COVID-19 has declined since last August, but with no change since February 2022.
- There is less worry about food shopping in person: two-thirds now feel comfortable being in stores.
- One-third of adults say their food shopping has permanently changed in some way as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and almost as many say the pandemic has changed their approach to health.
- Shoppers who replaced their go-to (primary) grocery store with a mass retailer have largely maintained this channel shift, and mass continues to accrue more shoppers.
Even more than COVID-19, rising prices concern parents shopping for back-to-school needs.
- Despite an overall concern with COVID-19 higher than that of other Americans, parents generally feel it is safe to send kids to school in person.
- Households with kids report high concern with the cost of both school supplies and clothing.
- The vast majority feel they have at least some control over childcare costs.
Join us as we continue to follow the grocery shoppers’ journey with this latest report and more at www.FMI.org/GroceryTrends.