Post-Pandemic Grocery Shopping: 5 Things Grocery Marketers Need to Know

The pandemic had a significant—and in some ways lasting—impact on consumer grocery buying behavior. As Americans emerge from the pandemic, it is critical that grocery marketers understand these changing behaviors and realign their grocery marketing strategies to reengage existing customers and acquire new to be successful in 2021 and beyond. Keep reading for 5 things grocery marketers need to know to be positioned for success.

  1. Some shopping behaviors adopted during the pandemic will become permanent.

While in-store shopping is on the rise as stores re-open post-pandemic, online shopping and buy online, pick up in store options are here to stay. Insider Intelligence projects that as the pandemic continues to fizzle out, online grocery adoption will reach 55% of US consumers by the end of 2024.

In its June 2021 consumer survey, Prosper Insights & Analytics reported that of U.S. adults 18+ surveyed:

  • 80% shopped in a physical store for groceries in the past 30 days – up 4% compared to 1 year ago
  • 27% shopped online (either desktop or mobile) compared to 30% 1 year ago – down 3%
  • 27% use buy online and pick up in store (BOPIS) either regularly or occasionally compared to 25% in June 2020
  • 23% use home delivery services regularly or occasionally in June 2021 compared to 20% in June 2020

Also interesting to note: 14% of customers have switched to a new primary store during the crisis, and nearly half of those (48%) plan to continue shopping at their new grocery store once the pandemic ends.

  1. The trend of rising food prices that began in 2020 continues in 2021.
  • In March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for food during 2020 increased by 3.3% on average for food prepared at home
  • The April 2021 report shows the rising trend for food prices continued, with a 2.4% increase over the same month a year ago.
  1. Rising prices during the COVID-19 pandemic have made more Americans pay closer attention to their finances than they have in recent years.
  • 70% of consumers say they view discounts and promotional offers as important to their decisions to make purchases.

Did you know?

82% of shoppers will change the stores they shop at to take advantage of weekly specials.

  1. How are consumers comparing prices and looking for the best deals?
  • Online deals are critical to 54% of consumers when it comes to choosing which grocers to shop from while 43% are on the lookout for in-store deals.
  • Additional research further indicates that when comparing prices between offerings, consumers use both print (76%) and online (71%) channels.
  • In the past 12 months grocery store and supermarket customers have responded to both print and digital ads:
    • Ads/coupons in mailbox – 58%
    • Internet Banner Ad – 42%
  • Whether shopping online or in person, the printed circular is continues to be utilized by 40% of consumers looking for deals.
  1. Acquire new grocery customers with a multi-channel marketing approach.
  • Print drives 11% purchase intent compared to only 4% with digital alone. That’s a 175% INCREASE when anchoring your digital campaign with print!
  • Direct mail and digital advertising work synergistically to boost response rates by 118% and conversion rates by 28% versus print alone.

As grocery marketers assess the current consumer landscape and trends, adjusting your marketing strategy to ensure you are capturing new and reengaging existing shoppers is key. We offer a variety of integrated advertising and marketing solutions that build a powerful marketing mix to increase response and ROI for all types of business needs. Our solutions include shared mail products, direct mail products, circular distribution, trigger-based marketing programs, and addressable geofencing digital advertising solutions—all supported by data analysis and targeting along with award-winning graphic design.

An integrated marketing campaign utilizing any of our shared or direct mail products and our Boost Solution delivers digital ads to your target households, setting the stage for the arrival of the printed marketing piece in their mailbox. This multichannel approach increases frequency, measures foot traffic, and amplifies your message, resulting in increased response.

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Sources: 2020 online grocery report; Prosper Insights & Analytics Monthly Consumer Survey June 2020; McKinsey & Company COVID-19 US Consumer Pulse Survey, fielded May 18–24, 2020; BrandSpark 2020 US Shopper Study (Surveyed 18K));; 2K19 Valassis Coupon Intelligence Report;; 2020 Valassis Consumer Intel Report;; AdMall AudienceSCAN 2020; Millward Brown Print Campaign Analysis; Simplifi