New Acosta Report Shows Nearly 70% of Consumers Continue To Shop Online for Groceries Amid the Pandemic

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Research reveals pandemic-related shopping habits remain firmly in place

Acosta, a global integrated sales and marketing services provider in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry, released its latest research report, The Lingering Impact of COVID-19 on U.S. Shoppers. The report examines U.S. shoppers’ behavior nearly two years into the pandemic. According to Acosta’s research, most of today’s consumers (68%) are currently shopping online for groceries, at least occasionally, as both the pandemic and economic outlook continue to evolve.

“It is no surprise that shopping behaviors developed at the start of the pandemic are still in place today, especially since concerns surrounding COVID-19 remain high for many consumers,” said Colin Stewart, Executive Vice President, Business Intelligence at Acosta. “In fact, Acosta’s research shows pandemic-related concern levels among consumers in January 2022 were only slightly lower than those of consumers’ surveyed about a year ago. Ongoing worries over safety and finances are compounded by product shortages and rising grocery prices resulting from supply chain challenges. While faced with the market’s continued uncertainty, consumers are likely to stick with – and possibly increase – shopping habits picked up over the past two years.”

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Acosta’s research provides in-depth insight into the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on U.S. shoppers’ behaviors and concerns.

COVID-19 Concerns

  • Pandemic concern levels remain relatively high among today’s shoppers. The average concern level of consumers surveyed in January 2022 was 6.6 on a scale of 1-10 (1 being not at all concerned and 10 being extremely concerned), up .7 points from December 2021
    • Forty-six percent of consumers surveyed in 2022 rated their COVID-19 concern level as “very concerned.”
    • Twenty-four percent of consumers surveyed in 2022 rated their COVID-19 concern level as “not very concerned.”
  • Nearly 33% of households are in a worse place financially in 2022 than they were before the pandemic.

Shopping Habits and Observations

  • Shopping behaviors that developed during the pandemic are still in place for many consumers today, with 68% now shopping for groceries online at least some of the time, versus 40% of consumers surveyed between December 30, 2020 and January 4, 2021.
    • Seventy-five percent of consumers surveyed in 2022 continue wearing face coverings while shopping, even when not required.
    • Thirty-one percent of consumers surveyed in 2022 continue stocking up on some products, particularly paper products, canned goods and meat.
    • Twenty-two percent of consumers surveyed in 2022 continue using online subscription services.
  • Today’s shoppers also continue to feel the impact of increasing product shortages (60%) and higher grocery prices, especially for meat and dairy items (94%).

Dining Out Habits and Observations

  • Fifty percent of today’s shoppers say they have dined in a restaurant over the past month and 57% say they intend to do so again soon.
  • Fifty-four percent of diners say they are noticing higher menu prices (up more than 10 percentage points from diners surveyed six months ago) and seem to be less aware of limited menus, staff shortages and ongoing safety measures.

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