Examining how COVID-19 is changing Grocery Retail

The Grocery Retail vertical has seen dramatic growth since the outbreak of COVID-19. Now that work-from home and remote learning have become the norm, worldwide consumers are cooking more meals at home, driving up grocery demand.

In fact, while other retail categories have seen sharp declines, the growth in food and beverage store sales from February to March 2020 was 26% higher than the same period last year.

The most affected retailers have announced they are hiring nearly half a million workers to keep up with growing demand. Staying at home is not only driving the need for more frequent food shops, but also causing a shift toward online grocery buying as shoppers avoid in-store contact. Digital food shopping activity increased week-over-week throughout the entire month of March. Moreover, as consumers become accustomed to the convenience of grocery pick-up and delivery, these buying behaviours are likely to stay intact after the pandemic. 43% of adults say they are somewhat or very likely to continue buying food shopping online after COVID-19.

Supermarket sites are welcoming an older audience, while Specialty Grocery online audiences skew younger

It is no secret that Boomers gravitate towards legacy brands including traditional supermarkets. So, when forced inside due to COVID-19, it’s not surprising to see 55+ year old consumers increase their composition within the online supermarket audience. Conversely, younger consumers are clearly leaning into more specialized and niche online grocery retail.

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