Online grocery shopping shift poses challenges for in-store: Survey

More than one fifth of Canadians have purchased more groceries online due to COVID fears, according to new research from Mintel, and the shift could pose a challenge for grocers to bring shoppers back in-store.

Mintel's research shows that as of mid-April, 70 per cent of Canadian shoppers were making less frequent trips to the grocery store than usual and in the middle of July, 71 per cent were limiting the time they spent in the store. Consumers were also doing what they could to protect themselves: 67 per cent said they were taking extra precautions when shopping in stores, e.g. wiping down their carts, keeping their distance from other shoppers.

These protective behaviours are continuing, at the end of July, half of Canadians continue to be worried about the risk of being exposed to the virus, driving two-thirds (64 per cent) of consumers to limit the time they spend in-stores.

"The challenge grocery retailers face now, and in the months to come, will be to convince consumers to come back into stores and shop for longer periods of time,” says Carol Wong-Li, associate director, lifestyles and leisure for Mintel. “Encouraging consumers to do so will have a positive impact on the 'act of discovery'. Consumers will need to be encouraged to slow down and re-engage in spontaneous behaviours like browsing and trying new products, reminding them that shopping pre-COVID was a leisurely enjoyable activity, not what it is considered now - more 'mission-minded' with safety remaining at top of mind for consumers.”

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