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03/31/2021

Study: In-store shopping rises amid vaccinations

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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woman shopping in store wearing mask

Early shopping trends among consumers who have received the COVID-19 vaccine are promising.

According to data from market research company Numerator, observed shopping behaviors among early vaccinated shoppers, as compared to the average week in 2020, show a 12% year-over-year increase in in-store sales for the week ending March 14. Numerator analysis indicates that year-over-year in-store sales dips recorded in the fourth and seventh weeks of 2021 were likely impacted by significant winter weather disruptions.

The online sales index for vaccinated shoppers is also up 12% compared to the same period in 2020, which Numerator says indicates that in-store increases won't necessarily result in online decreases. The gas and convenience channel has the highest sales increase compared to 2020 at 33%; while the quick-service restaurant (QSR) channel has been producing a clear year-over-year sales uptick since late February (up 18% in the most recent week) as vaccinated consumers become more comfortable eating outside of the home.

The number of households shopping in-store remains steady in 2021, on average up 5% over 2020. Club (+12%) and gas & convenience (+7%) stores have seen more dramatic year-over-year increases in total households shopping in 2021.

Similar to sales, overall in-store shopping trips and QSR visits are up among vaccinated consumers (+4% and +6%, respectively). Online orders are holding steady compared to 2020 averages, even with an increase in in-store trips.

Examining demographic trends in fully vaccinated consumers, Numerator finds this cohort skews older, higher income, Asian, and white/Caucasian:

•    23% are over 65 years of age (boomers and the greatest generation), 15% are boomers under 65, 35% Gen X, 26% millennials, and 2% Gen Z.
•    Compared to the general population, early vaccinated consumers are 11% more likely to be boomers or older, 31% more likely to be high-income, 25% more likely to be Asian, and 7% more likely to be white/Caucasian.
•    This group is composed largely of essential workers. Early vaccinated consumers are nearly five times more likely to be doctors or physicians, and twice as likely to work in law enforcement or emergency services.
•    Retail channels that over-index with the early vaccinated include club (+8%), online (+8%), and drug (+7%).

Numerator data also indicates that three in five consumers have been or plan to be vaccinated. At the time of the study (Feb. 7 – March 1, 2021), 8% of consumers were fully vaccinated and roughly 50% intended to get vaccinated when they become eligible. Two in five consumers are not fully convinced of the vaccine. Twenty percent did not plan to get vaccinated, and 22% were unsure about whether they would get the vaccine.