How Coronavirus Impacts Shopping Decisions, Spending, & Product Availability
Boomers show greatest shift in shopping behavior; women show significant behavioral shifts, while men stockpile, cut spending
As coronavirus spreads nationwide, a recent survey by First Insight found that news of the virus is impacting the shopping behavior of 75% of respondents, up from 45% (a 70% increase) when comparing to a survey fielded in late February. The survey by First Insight, Inc., a leading technology company transforming how retailers make product investment and pricing decisions, also pointed to significant swings in behavior by women and Baby Boomers over the last three weeks.
Both groups had been slower to change behavior based on Coronavirus fears than their gender and generational counterparts, but are now in greater alignment. For example, 71% of women now say that the virus is impacting where and how they shop, a 115% increase from late February, compared to 67% of men (a 76% increase). Similarly, while Millennials report the greatest impact on purchase decisions (80%, a 48% increase from the previous survey), Boomers have now aligned behavior more with their younger counterparts with 73% saying the same, a 121% increase from the prior survey.
“As the number of Coronavirus cases increases, the governments have reacted appropriately, with more restrictions on movement and face-to-face interaction coming every day. This certainly has affected people and their perceptions of the world around them,” said Greg Petro, CEO of First Insight. “This survey shows a significant shift in behavior as consumers adapt to their new reality, whether it’s increasing purchases of staple items, moving more shopping online, or cutting spending in some areas. The world looks very different than it did three short weeks ago, and things are likely to look different three weeks from today. Retailers, brands and manufacturers need to continue to be vigilant in providing the products customers need and want, both now and in future seasons. But, just as importantly, they need to understand what consumers want and how they feel today and into the future. That requires understanding the shifts in supply, demand, and customer preference. The only way to understand that shifting environment is to engage with their customers via tools like First Insight.”
Download an infographic featuring key findings.
Significant generational and gender findings include:
• Women Surpass Men on Impact of Virus on Shopping Behavior: Fifty-nine% of women surveyed said that the virus was impacting how much they spent on products, compared to 56% of men.
• More Men Stockpiling Groceries and Cutting Back on Spending: With 46% of all respondents buying more products in anticipation of Coronavirus, 47% of men say they are stockpiling groceries in particular, compared to only 38% of women.
• Boomers Show Greatest Shift in Behavior Compared to Other Generations: Immobility has had a dramatic affect over the last three weeks, with 71% of Baby Boomers saying it has impacted where and how they shop, up 173% from the last survey.
• Baby Boomers Less Inclined to Cut Back on Spending than Other Generations While 47% of respondents are cutting back on spending overall, only 38% of Boomers say they are reducing their spend in preparation for greater Coronavirus spread.
• Baby Boomers Show Greatest Increase in Those Stockpiling Groceries: Similar to men, Baby Boomers are the generation showing the greatest increase over the last three weeks, with 34% now saying they are stocking up versus only 10% last survey, a 240% increase.
Fifty-nine% of women surveyed (and 57% overall) said that the virus was impacting how much they spent on products, compared to 56% of men. This represents a significant shift in behavior since the last survey, when 32% of men and only 25% of women felt the same. Similarly, while an equal number of both men and women felt it was affecting the products they purchase, this was a 136% increase for women, compared to a 75% increase for men.
Forty-seven% of men say they are stockpiling groceries compared to only 38% of women. This is a 114% and 111% increase over last time, respectively. Men also show greater shifts toward cutting spending, as reported by 54% of men versus only 42% of women who took the survey. This is a 54% versus 24% increase respectively compared to the last survey.
Seventy-four% of Baby Boomers (and 71% of respondents overall) report the Coronavirus impacting how often they go out in public, a 164% increase from the last survey. This immobility has had a dramatic affect over the last three weeks, with 71% of Baby Boomers saying it has impacted where and how they shop, up 173% from the last survey. Other generations including Generation Z (65%), Millennials (72%) and Generation X (72%) show similar impact, but a much less dramatic increase from the last survey.
Baby Boomers have also shifted their shopping to online significantly over the last few weeks. While overall 34% of respondents are shopping more online, more Generation Z (37%), Millennials (42%), and Generation X (35%) have increased their shopping online compared to Baby Boomers (23%). Only 8% of Baby Boomers reported shifting to online in the first survey; the growth to 34% represents a 187% increase.
Similarly, while 49% of overall respondents are shopping less frequently in-store, Baby Boomers show the greatest%age increase for shopping less frequently in-store (48%), bringing this generation on par with younger generations including Millennials (50%) and Gen Z (51%). The number of Baby Boomers shopping less in-store increased 118% over the last three weeks, a significantly larger jump than other generations.