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America’s New Shopping Routine: Stocking Up and Spending Less

Latest Shopkick survey finds consumers in states hit hardest by new COVID cases are still shopping in-store 

Months into the COVID-19 crisis, consumer shopping habits across the country continue to shift — whether it is stocking up, tightening budgets or visiting reopened retailers and businesses. As cases spike, more consumers say they are stocking up on essentials (59 percent) compared to when they were asked in early June (53 percent). Despite increased concerns and massive COVID surges in states like Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia and Texas, the vast majority of state residents (92 percent) say they are still shopping in-store.

Shopkick has conducted a series of consumer surveys throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to keep a pulse on shopping behavior as the crisis unfolds, analyzing new habits and trends that arise. This latest survey of more than 12,000 consumers was conducted July 14-20, 2020.

National Insights:

● Still Stocking Up: Household essentials have been flying off the shelves since the pandemic first hit in March, and months later, most consumers are still stocking their pantries. More people (59 percent) are stocking up now as compared to June (53 percent), purchasing items such as food and water (87 percent), toiletries (81 percent), cleaning supplies (68 percent), hand sanitizer and soap (65 percent), medicine and/or medical items (48 percent) and animal supplies (37 percent).

● Sparing Spenders: As the economic impact of COVID-19 continues to affect consumers’ budgets, the majority (54 percent) say they are now spending less than at the start of the pandemic, compared to only 26 percent who reported decreased spending in June. When asked to compare spending to this time last year, 62 percent say they are spending less.

● Reopened Retailers: With more widespread reopenings, 89 percent of consumers say non-essential retailers have reopened in their local area (compared to 70 percent in June), while more than half (52 percent) have already visited these retailers (compared to 37 percent in June). Of those who have visited non-essential retailers, 58 percent have hit apparel, shoe and accessories stores, followed by restaurants and bars (55 percent), and beauty stores (39 percent).

● Worth the Wait: For those who have not visited reopened retailers yet (48 percent), 65 percent say they plan to wait more than one month to visit, a 20 percent increase over June.

Hot States (Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia and Texas):

● Staying In-Store: Across five states experiencing particularly high spikes of the virus, an average of 92 percent of consumers say they or a member of their household is still visiting physical retailers to fulfill essential shopping needs. On average, nearly three out of four consumers (74 percent) from these states are taking one to two shopping trips per week, which is either about the same or less often than one month ago.

● Stocking Up By State: As these states experience greater numbers of COVID cases, rates for stocking up on essentials are generally higher than the national average. While Californians match the national numbers (59 percent) more Floridians, Georgians and Texans report stocking up (64 percent, 62 percent and 60 percent, respectively), while Arizonians actually report slightly lower rates (55 percent).

● Big Box vs. Grocery Stores: Most Georgians and Floridians are visiting grocery stores to purchase essentials (91 percent and 87 percent, respectively). Meanwhile, Arizonians, Californians and Texans (85 percent, 84 percent and 86 percent, respectively) are more likely to head to big box stores like Target and Walmart.

● Dining and Dressing: Arizonians and Californians are most likely to visit restaurants and bars once they reopen in their local area (50 percent and 51 percent, respectively), while Georgians are most likely to visit apparel and shoe stores (60 percent). Meanwhile, Floridians and Texans are nearly equally split between wanting to visit restaurants and bars (45 percent and 42 percent, respectively) or apparel and shoe stores (44 percent and 45 percent, respectively).

“It is a stressful time for consumers and retailers everywhere as concerns grow alongside case numbers,” said David Fisch, general manager of Shopkick. “While we do not know when we will get to the other side of the pandemic, we do know that more people are stocking up, shopping in-store and spending less compared to months prior. We hope that by continuing to release consumer data, retailers and brands can create more informed strategies and tactics to best meet their customers’ needs during these trying times.”

Shopkick conducted an online survey of more than 12,000 consumers across the country between July 14-20, 2020, including nearly 4,000 residents from Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia and Texas.