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03/08/2022

Here’s how shopping habits are changing

Marianne Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
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Eighty-percent of shoppers have noticed that more shelves are out-of-stock or low-in-stock at their usual retailers and grocery stores than they were a year ago.

Supply chain issues and massive inflation during the past year are directly impacting the way consumers say they shop.

Eighty-one percent of consumers said they are now more likely to wait on making a purchase until there is a sale or coupon due to price increases, according to a recent survey by shopping rewards app Shopkick. And 79% would purchase the next best option if their favorite brands are sold out or low-in-stock, highlighting their wavering loyalty to brands. 

The survey revealed that the majority of consumers (88%) are still shopping for their household essentials in-store. But 62% of them said their in-store shopping habits have changed during the past year, with 69% of that group saying they have shifted the time of day and frequency during the week: Fifty-two percent said they now go to the store at less busy times, 23% said they go to the store fewer times a week and 17% they are going to the store at less busy times said fewer times a week.

Fifty-six percent of consumers said their shopping habits have changed with regards to their safety practices and 44% said their habits have changed with the retailers they shop at and brands they buy from. 

For the majority of consumers who say they have changed where they shop, fifty-nine percent are now shopping at big box retailers such as Target and Walmart more frequently, as well as doing more research online before making purchases in-store (43%) and shopping more at local, independently-owned retailers (27%).

Other findings from the survey are below. 

  • Out of Stock Items: Eighty-percent of shoppers have noticed that more shelves are out-of-stock or low-in-stock at their usual retailers and grocery stores than they were 12 months ago. Items they have noticed that are unavailable include meat products (53%), dairy products (52%), boxed goods (50%), canned goods (48%), toiletries (50%), fresh produce (30%), bottled water (29%) animal supplies (28 percent), and medicine (23%).
  • In-Store Experiences: When asked what in-store experiences are most important to consumers, 62% said the ability to try on, touch and see products in-person. Other important experiences include better deals and lower prices (62%), the ability to confirm the quality of the product (61%), convenience (49%), in-person interactions or support from store associates (23%) and product sampling (14%). 
  • Limited Loyalty: Brand loyalty is wavering 65% of consumers said  they would buy the next best option if their go-to brands are sold out or low-in-stock, and 59% said they are very willing to try a new brand and do so regularly. When it comes to what influences consumers’ loyalty to brands, the majority (75%) said the taste, flavor or quality of the product is most important. 
  • Online Shopping Behavior Shift: It is not just in-store shopping that has shifted, 51%  of consumers said online shopping habits have changed too. Of those, 75% said they are making more online purchases, 26% have signed up for more online memberships to take advantage of shopping rewards and promotions and 20% have tried new brands due to their go-to brands rising in price or being out of stock.
  • Purchasing Online Perks: Eighty-five percent of consumers said the most important advantage of online shopping is free shipping and returns. Other important advantages include fast shipping (56%), avoiding crowds and contact with others (43%), high quality products or brands (38%), buy online pick up in-store options (34%), flexible return policy (21%)  and buy now, pay later options (14%). 

 “This survey data has revealed that consumer habits and priorities have transformed over the past year as a result of ongoing supply chain issues and inflation,” said Brittany Billings, executive VP of strategic markets and marketing at Shopkick. “In order for brands and retailers to retain customers' share of wallet, heart and mind, it is more important than ever to deliver a frictionless - and connected - online and in-store experience to ensure a positive interaction each and every time."

Shopkick surveyed more than 20,000 consumers across the country from February 17-24, 2022 to uncover how consumer behaviors have evolved since 2021.