US consumers are spending more on each shopping occasion, at a physical store or through online shopping, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to The NPD Group, average shopping occasion spending has remained elevated at or above a $34 average in March of 2020, through July 2021. This is due in part to a general shift toward online purchasing, where average selling prices and the amount spent on each transaction tend to be higher. The number of shopping occasions per week is still lower than 2019 levels, indicating that the sales lift is primarily caused by an increase in stock-up purchasing behavior, as consumers buy more on each occasion.
“Fewer shopping trips to limit in-person contact at retail stores, combined with supply-chain challenges making fewer products available, means consumers are more willing to spend more now to get the products they need,” says Marshal Cohen, retail chief industry advisor for NPD. “This dynamic alters the traditional cadence of product seasonality and creates less price sensitivity.”
Since March 2020, the average amount spent per shopping occasion each month has been between 13% and 29% higher than the same month in the prior year.
“The evolving pandemic lifestyle is already influencing what consumers are buying,” says Cohen. “Layer on reduced in-store shopping frequency, and the continued strength of online shopping, and the critical role of impulse shopping will remain muffled.”