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Americans’ Shopping Concerns Around COVID-19 Are Subsiding

More than half of consumers report shopping in-store multiple times per week

The impact of COVID-19 continues to affect how and where American consumers shop, what they buy, and how much they spend. But as all 50 states ease restrictions and roll out plans for reopening non-essential businesses, consumers are gearing up for the new reality of retail.

Shopkick has conducted a series of consumer surveys throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to keep a pulse on shopping behavior as the crisis unfolds, and in the process, uncovered new habits and trends. The latest findings show that general concern around the pandemic is on the decline, shopping frequency is rising, and consumers are increasingly looking forward to the reopening of non-essential retailers.

In its latest report, Shopkick surveyed more than 18,000 consumers across the country between May 27 – June 2, 2020 to gain insights into how consumer behavior has evolved since COVID-19 initially hit and changed life as we know it.

Key findings include:

  • Less COVID Concern: Most consumers (73 percent) say they feel equally or less concerned about COVID-19 than in May. Just last month, 82 percent of consumers said the pandemic was affecting how they shop and now, that number has dropped to 70 percent.
  • Influx of In-Store: A whopping 94 percent of consumers say that a member of their household is shopping in-store at least once a week, with 52 percent reporting multiple in-person trips per week. When asked to compare frequency of store visits with the prior month, 12 percent of consumers are visiting stores more often (versus 5 percent last month), 44 percent are visiting stores about as often (versus 21 percent last month), and 44 percent are visiting stores less often (versus 73 percent last month).
  • Expensive Essentials: The demand for essential items like toilet paper, disinfectants, bottled water and canned goods remains high, with 95 percent of consumers continuing to notice that certain brands and items have sold out over the past month. Furthermore, 76 percent of consumers (a significant increase from just 56 percent last month) have noticed price increases on these essentials.
  • No Rush on Non-Essentials: While 70 percent of consumers surveyed live in areas where non-essential retailers have reopened, 68 percent have not visited those stores yet. Regardless of whether they have visited any stores, 67 percent of consumers in those areas say they will make most of their non-essential purchases in-store, rather than online.
  • Lingering Concern: The reasons vary, but the majority (57 percent) of consumers who have not visited reopened non-essential retailers in their area report it is because they simply have not yet felt the need. Other reasons include: concern that other shoppers will not take safety precautions (38 percent), concern that retailers will be too crowded (27 percent), concern that retailers will not enforce safety precautions (22 percent), choosing instead to make non-essential purchases online (22 percent), and concern there will be long lines to enter or restrictions on the number of shoppers allowed in a store at once (16 percent). Of those who have not yet visited any reopened non-essential retailers in their area, 45 percent say they will likely wait more than one month before visiting.
  • Fashion First: Most consumers who have visited reopened retailers say they shopped in apparel, shoe and accessory stores (52 percent). The second most-visited retailers are home improvement stores (40 percent), followed by beauty and grooming stores (31 percent), home decor stores (25 percent), book and toy stores (21 percent), pet stores (18 percent), sporting goods stores (11 percent), electronics stores (9 percent), and wellness and fitness stores (7 percent).
  • Summer Spending: Although 48 percent of consumers say they are shopping online more frequently than one month prior, 65 percent still plan to make most of their summer purchases in-store. Consumers say they plan to spend most of their summer shopping budget on groceries (41 percent), home improvement projects (27 percent), vacations (10 percent), recreation and outdoor activities (7 percent), clothing and apparel (6 percent), back-to-school preparations (4 percent), and summer camps (1 percent).

“The pandemic continues to affect how and where American consumers are shopping, what they are buying, and how much they are spending. And as more and more states ease restrictions and roll out plans for reopening, consumers are preparing themselves for a new retail reality,” said Dave Fisch, general manager of Shopkick. “We are committed to continuing our consumer behavior reporting to guide brands and retailers on how to survive and thrive in this new reality.”