Survey finds new in-store behaviors becoming routine

Marianne Wilson
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Consumers are fast adapting to new shopping behaviors resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sixty-nine percent of shoppers reported using hand sanitizer before or after shopping, according to the most recent round of research by CPG sales and marketing agency Acosta. And 66% reported wearing a mask while shopping. Mask usage has doubled since early April and is most popular among shoppers in the Northeast, according to the report.

In other findings, 49% of consumers reported shopping during off-peak hours to avoid crowds and 34% opted to use self-checkout. 

"With shoppers settling into their new routines, 'normal' life will not look like pre-COVID-19 life, at least not entirely,” said Darian Pickett, CEO of Acosta. “Our research shows that bringing reusable bags to stores may become a thing of the past and using hand sanitizer and masks while shopping is likely to remain common practice even after the pandemic subsides."

The research revealed that 51% of shoppers expect life to return to normal in less than six months, while 29% believe it will take more than a year, millennials (65%) and Southerners (54%) are the most optimistic about life returning to normal in less than six months.

Shoppers also have differing opinions on state reopening plans. Forty-three percent believe their state is reopening on a reasonable schedule; 39% believe their state is reopening too soon; and 13% don't think their state is reopening fast enough.

Other research highlights include the following. 

•    Shoppers are stocking up on meat products because they are cooking more meals at home (34%), concerned about shortages (31%), minimizing their number of store trips (31%) and concerned about higher prices on future trips (21%). 

•    Chicken was the most popular choice with 47% of shoppers stocking up on it, and beef (45%) and fish (39%) round out the top three. 

•    Fifty-three percent of shoppers noticed purchase limits when buying meat; 46% noticed out-of-stocks; and 35% noticed higher prices.