Shoppers return to pre-pandemic shopping around habits, IGD reveals

Following the further lifting of restrictions, ‘shopping around’ for food and grocery items has increased and is now higher than pre-pandemic levels according to ShopperVista – provider of trusted shopper insights to category, insight and commercial professionals – from IGD.

The number of food and grocery shops used by shoppers has risen to 13, which is the highest level since December 2018.  The shift in shopping culture has been seen most in hypermarkets and supermarkets in the last month and is likely to be driven by a combination of the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, the heatwave conditions and the Euro 2020 finals.

Meanwhile, shopper confidence continues to remain relatively strong according to the latest Shopper Confidence Index. At -3, it mirrors last month’s level and is one of the highest levels in the last five years. But, this is coupled with several challenges such as the persistent K-shaped economic recovery which creates increased polarisation between lower and higher income households, and rising inflation.

Simon Wainwright, director of global insight at IGD, explains: “During the pandemic and consequent lockdowns, retailers have been able to capitalise on relatively captive audiences. Now, as restrictions lift, shoppers have the freedom to shop around for favourite products, quality and variety. The increase to pre-pandemic levels may be a result of shoppers making up for lost time, boosted by feel-good events, such as the Euro Finals.

“However, this motivation is only likely to be true of more affluent shoppers. Lower income households are more likely to be shopping around for value amid rising concerns around price inflation.

“Retailers will need to concentrate on driving loyalty to maintain market share, by focusing on range, quality and innovation. There will be a real spotlight on value as inflation rises, particularly for lower income households.”

July 2021 Shopper Confidence Index Highlights 

Index highlights

  • Shopper confidence remained relatively strong at -3, boosted by the Euro 2020 football finals, easing of Covid-19 restrictions, but was balanced by the rise of the Delta variant
  • Concerns about inflation have doubled since April 2021.  16% (vs 8% in April 2021) expect food prices to get much more expensive.
  • Despite the operational challenges due to labour shortages, 75% still trust the food and consumer goods industry to ensure a good availability of food and groceries, the same level as last month.
  • Shopper confidence has slipped back for the third month running among 18-24s (+4 vs +8  April). This comes at a time of reduced government financial support in the form of the furlough scheme.
  • More higher income households believe they will be better off (23%) than worse off (20%) in the year ahead. In contrast, lower income households believe they will be worse off (23%) than better off (15%).

IGD ShopperVista 2021