The world is currently experiencing unprecedented challenges due to the impact of COVID-19. In the U.S., states and cities continue to enforce stricter policies to slow the spread of the virus, including business closures, curfews, and shelter-in-place orders. With rising uncertainty and anxiety, it has become a priority at Shopkick to understand how consumers are responding and help our partners deliver what matters most to them during this time.
To do so, we conducted a survey of nearly 25,000 consumers across the country to gain insights into changing behaviors during this current health and economic crisis. The results are extremely informative, especially for retailers and brands that are now navigating a time where the majority (76 percent, in fact) of consumers are adjusting their shopping habits.
Here’s what we learned:
Americans Are Taking Extra Health Precautions While Shopping In-Store
Nearly 60 percent of consumers report being worried about shopping in physical stores, which is why they’re mitigating concerns by taking additional health precautions. This includes disinfecting their hands and shopping carts, shopping at slower times, using debit/credit cards to avoid handling cash, and using self-checkout.
It’s important that retailers are aware of these additional health precautions in order to update current in-store policies. Whether that’s placing more disinfectant wipe dispensers near carts, investing in additional self-checkout stations, or designating shopping time for vulnerable communities, the more retailers can do to keep consumers safe and comfortable, the better consumers’ shopping experiences will be.
Aisles Are Empty as Consumers Stock Up on the Essentials
Our survey found that nearly half of consumers (47 percent) are stocking up on essential items, with more than three out of four responding that doing so makes them feel "safer." However, basically all respondents reported that those same household essentials that gave them some calm during this crisis — e.g., food items and water, toiletries, cleaning supplies, medicine, medical items, and pet supplies — were sold out at their usual retailer or grocery store.
This is a phenomenon we’re seeing everywhere, making it even more necessary for brands and retailers to dedicate resources toward staying stocked on the items that are most essential to consumers today — especially considering 69 percent of shoppers are heading to different stores to find those missing items. An alternative option may be limiting the number of items that each customer is allowed to purchase at a time, which 78 percent of people reported already seeing at their local stores.
Only 1 in 4 Consumers Are Making More Online Purchases
As more retailers start ramping up online capabilities, it’s important to note that according to our survey respondents, only 24 percent are now shopping online more frequently. While expanding online offerings remains necessary, especially for consumers who cannot shop in-store, dedicating resources and ensuring the safety and well-being of consumers and employees at physical locations should be a top priority for essential retailers.
At the end of the day, there's no way to know the long-term effects of COVID-19 on consumer shopping habits. However, keeping a pulse on consumer behavior during this uncertain time is absolutely critical as the situation continues to evolve.
David Fisch is general manager of Shopkick, a Trax company and a leading shopping rewards app that is available for free on iPhone from the App Store and for Android from Google Play.
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Dave Fisch is the General Manager of Shopkick, a Trax company, and a leading shopping rewards app, bringing moments of joy to everyday shopping - both on- and off-line. For brands and retailers, Shopkick provides high consumer engagement along the entire path to purchase. The company’s unique pay for performance model has been proven to deliver high ROI, driving incremental traffic, product engagement, and sales. Some of its leading brand and retail partners include Auntie Anne's, Barilla, Brighton, eBay, GE, Kellogg's, TJ Maxx, Unilever, among others.
Shopkick is available for free on iPhone from the App Store and for Android from Google Play. For more information, please visit www.shopkick.com.