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Survey: Consumers stick with brick-and-mortar amid pandemic; stocking up again

A new survey suggests consumers are spending less than before the pandemic, but many are visiting physical stores.

According to results of a July 2020 survey of more than 12,000 U.S. consumers conducted by shopping rewards app Shopkick, 52% of respondents who say non-essential retailers have reopened in their area have already visited these stores.

Of those who have visited non-essential retailers, 58% have hit apparel, shoe and accessories stores, followed by restaurants and bars (55%) and beauty stores (39%). But for the 48% of respondents who have not visited reopened retailers yet, 65%  say they plan to wait more than one month to visit, a 20% increase from June. 

Across five states experiencing particularly high spikes of the virus - Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, and Texas - an average of 92% of respondents say they or a member of their household is still visiting physical retailers to fulfill essential shopping needs. On average, nearly three out of four consumers (74%) from these states are taking one to two shopping trips per week, which is either about the same or less often than the previous month.

As the economic impact of COVID-19 continues to affect consumers’ budgets, the majority (54%) of respondents say they are now spending less than at the start of the pandemic, compared to only 26% who reported decreased spending in June. When asked to compare spending to this time in 2019, 62% say they are spending less.

Respondents may be spending less, but they are stocking up on household essentials more. More people (59%) are stocking up now as compared to June (53%), purchasing items such as food and water (87%), toiletries (81%), cleaning supplies (68%), hand sanitizer and soap (65%), medicine and/or medical items (48%) and animal supplies (37%).

Focusing again on five states experiencing greater numbers of COVID cases, the survey finds rates for stocking up on essentials are generally higher than the national average. While Californians match the national numbers (59%), more Floridians, Georgians and Texans report stocking up (64%, 62% and 60%, respectively). Meanwhile, Arizonians actually report slightly lower rates (55%).

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