How have consumer shopping habits changed since the lockdown? Part 2


This is the second part of how shopping habits have changed since the lockdown.

In Part 1 we looked at the rise of The Weekly Shop and Shopping Local, and what this meant for promotions. In this part we take a look at Online Shopping and how shoppers Stockpiled Essential Items.

Online Shopping

Online shopping has never been higher. With the majority of shops physically closed, operating online is the only way for businesses to stay afloat and for some, it is a lifesaver as products can be delivered to those self-isolating without needing to leave the house. Amazon has seen sales in the first quarter jump 26% year-on-year and they said they could rise another 28% in the next.

Tesco announced that in the last week of April they had reached over 1 million delivery slots in that week for the first time in history. Morrisons launched its grocery food boxes in order to get those essential items out to customers quickly and easily without them having to try and get an online delivery slot. Customers can choose from a range of boxes including gluten-free, vegetarian and BBQ. Sainsbury’s CEO Mike Coupe believes that this shift will stick and shoppers will continue to shop online even once the lockdown is lifted.

Stockpiling Essentials Items

Within 2 weeks from the end of February to the middle of March (just before the lockdown was implemented) visits to online food, supermarket or grocery retail websites or apps rose 13% in the UK as the public began to stockpile their items. The majority of stockpiling (toilet paper, hand sanitizer and soap) happened prior to the lockdown and has now calmed down in the UK now that shoppers have settled into a routine and restrictions have been placed on a number of products. There are still those occasional hard to find items such as flour, eggs, and yeast as the trend of baking bread and cakes has skyrocketed. The Guardian reported that sales of baking goods were up 49.3% in the week commencing 13th April.

Shopping habits will likely return to more normal levels once the lockdown is lifted but it will be gradual. According to Mediacom in China where the lockdown has been eased, they saw a gradual return to normal spending patterns over 6 to 8 weeks following the relax of the rules. Shoppers will still be cautious but over time things will settle into the “new normal”.

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