NEW YORK — Experiencing or anticipating financial restraint, Americans will recalibrate their shopping habits, according to Nielsen’s COVID-19 Shopper Survey that contacted people in early July. They will seek discounts, promotions and lower prices.
When asked what would happen if economic conditions worsen, 52% of respondents said they will cook more at home, 48% said they will find more deals, 46% said they will shop at stores that offer lower prices, and 43% said they will use more coupons.
Attitudes and shopping strategies have changed since the spring when the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting stay-at-home orders had people disregarding prices and stocking up on products and ingredients for meals at home. Prices rose in 64% of the more than 500 grocery store categories, according to New York-based Nielsen.
Economic concerns have shifted shopper attitudes. The US Consumer Confidence Index dropped 21 points from the first quarter of the year to the second quarter. The Nielsen survey found 46% of Americans said they were concerned about their household income. When asked how their financial condition compared to the previous year, 29% said worse, 19% said better and 52% said the same. When asked whether they were concerned about their job or their spouse’s job, 27% said a job was not secure, 37% said secure and 37% said somewhat secure.
Nielsen suggested ways retailers could communicate with price-conscious consumers. They could offer a price-match guarantee and promote it through digital campaigns, social media and in-store signs.
In-store promotions and sales on essential items will entice people to shop at brick-and-mortar stores, according to Nielsen, which added retailers should communicate and enforce safety protocols and precautions such as limiting the number of shoppers; disinfecting carts, baskets, shelves and checkout areas; providing social distancing markers; and implementing contactless payment and pickup methods.