COVID-19 is causing an unprecedented number of shoppers to order basic goods for delivery, and many have never before purchased these categories online. What is their experience? Will they be omni-grocery shoppers in a post-COVID-19 world? The results from our report, How America Shops® in a COVID-19 Crisis.
Online Orders are at Record Levels. Is Omnichannel at its Level Best?
One major retailer. One online order. Three deliveries.
This was our recent experience ordering a few basic items from a national brick-based retailer that has long had an omnichannel strategy in place. Three deliveries in three boxes on three different days: It’s hardly cost-efficient, but it hints at how manufacturers and retailers – even industry leaders – are scrambling to get their arms around the sudden, unprecedented demand for online order fulfillment.
Not only are more shoppers purchasing their goods online in order to comply with stay-at-home guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic, but a staggering number are now buying goods they never before purchased online. According to the results of our most recent report, How America Shops® in a COVID-19 Crisis, conducted last week:
- 56% of all shoppers are buying groceries and health products online due expressly to COVID-19. (That’s double the rate of one year ago.)
- Of those shoppers, 50% are buying their groceries online for the first time ever.
This instant demand for home delivery and curbside pickup is testing even those retailers that thought they had well-established omnichannel systems to deliver a rewarding, consistent shopping experience.
However, It’s Not Just a Retailer Challenge
Brands, too, will be held to account for the experiences shoppers encounter today, in-store and online. When shoppers expect their favorite brands to be available for online delivery at this heightened period of need, and then discover these items are “for in-store pickup only,” they are not likely to forget it.
It’s tough to meet omnichannel expectations in the midst of a global pandemic, and shoppers are understanding when retailers are straightforward about their limitations and make it clear they are doing their best. But this is not a time to over-promise; shopper impressions last longer during a time of crisis.
A Forward-Thinking Conclusion: Many Shoppers Will Remain Online
So who are these customers discovering online shopping for groceries? Based on the results of our COVID-19 research.
- Men more than women are ordering groceries and health products online because of COVID-19 – 60% compared with 48%. (This begs the question: Have men taken over the task of finding the delivery window and chasing the online grocery order?)
- Most of these online shoppers are younger, but 43% are boomers.
- 62% of those with children are buying online, likely driven by forced home-schooling.
- Two-thirds of those who make $100,000 or more are using online grocery delivery because of COVID-19, but 49% of households earning less than $50,000 are doing so, too.
You can learn more by reading our new report, How America Shops® in a COVID-19 Crisis!
Other WSL Hot Topic reports include:
- Sales Growth from City Shoppers
- Free & Clean: Who’s Buying and What They Want Next
- Shopping Without Boundaries: The Future Shopping World Created by Gen Z
- Healthy First Shoppers are on a Spending Spree
- Retailers that Win Shoppers’ Hearts – and Why
- Which Brick Retailers are Winning at Omni Retail
- Where Did the Trip Go? Spoiler: It’s Not All to Amazon