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Shopper behaviour supermarkets

Learnings from grocery during COVID-19

April 3, 2020
By Alana House

Shopper Intelligence has revealed how COVID-19 is changing shopper behaviour, key actions in the supermarket sector and the learnings liquor can take from this behaviour.

Shopper Intelligence benchmarks Australian shoppers’ perceptions, behaviours and attitudes every week – tracking what shoppers think, want and do at category level.

Shopper Intelligence Managing Director Simon Ford said these snapshots are becoming increasingly important as shopper behaviour pivots during COVID-19 and also hold valuable insights for the liquor sector.

There are four key behaviours emerging during COVID-19:

1. Shoppers are focused on not running out

As a result, they are buying extra supplies at this time. Brands can help ease shopper anxiety by ensuring on availability and offering bigger packs and volume deals, where socially appropriate and restrictions allow.

2. Shoppers are less willing to spend on premium options

The loss of jobs and continued uncertainty is currently outweighing consumer ability or desire to spend more on premium ranges. Brands should focus on value and their mid-tier ranges to meet this shift.

3. Shoppers are buying more on impulse at category level

Customers are using the store to remind them what they need. Brands should consider investing more in off locations, gondola ends and supporting POS/displays to trigger purchase.

4. Shoppers are seeking simplicity

Improved signage and information at shelf and on packaging can make the shopping experience simpler and easier to navigate for customers.

Ford said there are parallels in the off-premise regarding the behaviours seen in supermarkets.

“Shoppers are particularly anxious and stressed at the moment when they shop, it’s not a normal trip,” he noted. “As an industry, we have an obligation to help. Make it easy for them to find what they want and don’t be afraid of carrying stock weight in off locations to help them find a solution.”

New off-premise research released mid-April

Shopper Intelligence will release its latest off-premise research on April 13, featuring insights into the buying habits of Australian consumers over the past 12 months.

More than 24,000 shoppers were questioned across 11 major banners in 32 liquor categories as part of the extensive survey of the retail liquor channel.

While the fieldwork was completed before the current public health situation, Senior Insight Director at Shopper Intelligence David Shukri said it represents a true reflection of how behaviour, motivations and needs in the off-premise have evolved.

“We know today we are in the middle of an unprecedented event that is having a huge impact on shopping behaviour,” said Shukri.

“In time, we’ll be able to reflect on those changes and assess which, if any, will persist in the longer-term.

“We must also bear in mind that normality will return at some point and it will be more important than ever then to ensure category plans and strategies are in line with the changes we’ve seen in off-premise shopper behaviour in recent years.”

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Shopper Intelligence is a Corporate Partner of the Drinks Association.