2021 In-Store Shopping Poised for Comeback

A new survey finds that more than a quarter of consumers plan to resume in-person shopping.

April 30, 2021

Customer Shopping

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.—More than a quarter of consumers (27%) plan to do most of their grocery shopping in stores once they are fully vaccinated, a new survey by Inmar Intelligence finds. More than a third (38%) will do a combination of online and in-store shopping. 

“As vaccines become more widely available, it is natural that today’s shoppers choose to head back into the store as a part of their grocery shopping routine,” said Spencer Baird, executive vice president and president of Inmar Intelligence's MarTech division, in a press release. “Most consumers are familiar with an in-store shopping experience—browsing and discovering new products—and there are some products that shoppers prefer to buy in-store.”

A return to the physical store is already underway with today’s grocery shoppers. While 48% of shoppers are currently hybrid shoppers, almost a third (33%) are currently shopping for groceries in-store, suggesting a steady return to normalcy and increased comfort with in-store shopping. Additionally, the survey found that more than half (51%) of shoppers are still looking to stockpile throughout 2021, adopting a longer-term “be prepared” mentality. Thirty-eight percent plan on stockpiling toilet paper, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, food and alcohol.

Despite the growing trend toward heading to physical stores to shop, online shopping is not going anywhere. Forty-one percent of shoppers have ordered groceries online for delivery or pickup over the past six months. Still, there are hurdles to conducting online shopping that can deter today’s shoppers, especially around quality and price. The greatest challenges that shoppers face with online delivery include delivery surcharges (18%), quality of groceries delivered (16%) and availability of delivery time slots (14%).

“The survey found that as consumers head back to the physical store, they plan to continue stockpiling everyday items, indicating the importance of longer-term preparedness,” Baird said. “Retailers must prepare for this longer-term shift, not only in terms of stock, but also providing today’s hybrid shoppers with a seamless omnichannel experience across a variety of touchpoints. No matter the age, shoppers expect to receive personalization, convenience and cost savings during each of their grocery trips.”

Moreover, the same survey found that the outlook for restaurants and bars is positive. As restaurants and bars begin to open back up, consumers are ready to dine out. Eighty-five percent of consumers plan to eat out more often, either inside or outside, showcasing this eagerness.

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