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Never on Sunday: How the Pandemic Has Changed Grocery Shopping

woman wearing a mask in the produce section of a grocery store
(LM Otero/AP Photo)

By    |   Monday, 19 October 2020 02:00 PM

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the landscape of retail shopping, and buying groceries is no exception. Experts found that since more Americans are working from home, they are less likely to shop on Sundays than they did before COVID-19.

According to Forbes, a recent study found that in 2019, Sunday was the busiest shopping day of the year, with 17.4% of shoppers buying foodstuffs for the week ahead. Now only 15.7% shop on Sunday. The researchers said that since Americans now have more time to shop earlier in the week, Sundays are reserved for other activities.

Other changes caused by the pandemic are that shoppers are taking advantage of early morning hours, often reserved for seniors and other at-risk clients to get their groceries. People are spending less time in most stores, with Walmart and Kroger being the exceptions, according to the study.

“Essentially, consumers were looking to make less visits, and accomplish more with each visit, a trend known as ‘mission-driving shopping,’” said the report. Interestingly, specialty store Trader Joe's scored higher than its leading competitor Whole Foods in mission-driven shopping. Trader Joe's also increased repeat business and customer loyalty since the pandemic.

“In challenging economic times, keeping loyal customers is essential for continued growth, and leakage can have far worse results than usual,” the study authors wrote, according to Forbes.

This shift in consumer habits has changed the way supermarkets replenish their shelves, according to The Washington Post. Grocery stores are taking note of these behavioral changes and are stocking more brands of comfort foods — the ones that customers have always loved and trusted — according to a trade publication. These CPGs, or consumer packaged goods, are the ones consumers buy repeatedly, like top selling brands such as Barilla pasta, Oreos, and Tide.

The result is that for the first time since World War II, the number of new items offered in supermarkets is declining, according to the Post. Online shopping only exacerbates the trend, says The Hill. People are even more likely to shop for their favorite brands online instead of scrolling through countless options to try something new.

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Monday, 19 October 2020 02:00 PM
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