The Retail Feedback Group released the Fall 2020 U.S. Online & In-Store Grocery Shopping Study. This report, the second instalment in 2020, provides key insights from both online and in-store supermarket shoppers, collected during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Frequency, spending and safety concerns
While a larger percentage of shoppers (39%) indicate they are shopping for food and groceries at about the same frequency as pre-pandemic, compared to 20% earlier this year, 34% shop less often (a substantial change from 55% in April) while 27% shop more often (similar to 25% earlier this year).
Nearly half (45%) of the shoppers in the survey report spending more now as compared to pre-pandemic, a similar finding to 51% in April. A higher percentage spend about the same now (38% versus 30%) and just 18% spend less (versus 19% previously).
While 77% of shoppers report that they plan to continue shopping with the same frequency at supermarkets in the next year, only a third (32%) are highly confident it is safe to shop in one.
Similar to earlier this year, shoppers continue to keep a supply of products on hand for longer periods of time, from categories throughout the store, including fresh and shelf-stable items. For instance, 59% of shoppers now keep canned and boxed items on hand for a few months or more compared to 43% pre-pandemic. Considering frozen foods, 45% of shoppers keep a few months on hand now, versus 34% pre-pandemic.
In-stock conditions and dual channel shopping
The percentage of shoppers reporting the supermarket had everything in stock they wanted to purchase, jumped to 76%, up from 49% in earlier in the year. Online, this improved to 68%, up from 51%.
Earlier this year, 50% of in-store supermarket shoppers in the last 30 days also ordered groceries online. Current findings reinforce these earlier findings, as shoppers continue to use both in-store and online channels to fulfill their needs in similar proportions, strongest among the younger and growing generations.
Overall satisfaction among online shoppers rebounded, up to 4.44 compared to 4.38 earlier in the year, on a five-point scale. The same held true for Amazon (4.63, up from 4.47), Walmart (4.41, up from 4.38), supermarkets (4.37, up from 4.33), and the Instacart-fulfilled subset (4.46, up from 4.35).
Brian Numainville, RFG Principal concluded, “As online shopping stabilized over the last several months, overall and channel satisfaction improved. Walmart benefitted most from the surge in online shopping, showing continued growth, while supermarket shoppers slipped downward with the lowest percentage of shoppers, indicating they plan to purchase grocery online in the coming year. However, with many shoppers continuing to shop online and in-store, supermarket retailers should continue to invest in both to remain relevant and attract new customers.”