As Coronavirus cases rise and more restrictions are put in place, consumers are being forced to adapt to a new reality. Currently, American consumers are spending an average of nearly $180 per shopping trip for Coronavirus-related supplies. Our March study around the impact the virus has had on shopping behavior revealed a significant shift in how different generations are changing their shopping behavior to prepare for potential weeks or months in isolation -particularly Baby Boomers, the generation at the highest risk.
At the time of our first study in late February, Baby Boomers had been slower to change behavior based on Coronavirus fears than other generations. However, our recent data show that this is changing. While Millennials reported the greatest impact on purchase decisions (80 percent, a 48 percent increase from our previous survey fielded in late February), Baby Boomers have now aligned behavior more with their younger counterparts with 73 percent saying the same, a 121 percent increase from the prior study.
Some other significant findings include:
Immobility Impacting Baby Boomers’ Shopping the Most: The study found that 74 percent of Baby Boomers report the Coronavirus impacting how often they go out in public (slightly more than other generations), a 164 percent increase from the last survey. This is likely driving the 173 percent increase from the last survey in the impact of the outbreak on where and how they shop, now at 71 percent.
Baby Boomers Are Still Less Inclined to Cut Back on Spending than Other Generations: While 47 percent of respondents are cutting back on spending overall, only 38 percent of baby boomers say they are reducing their spend in preparation for greater Coronavirus spread. Baby Boomers are known to be less frugal, and according to a 2018 Visa report, accounted for more than half of U.S. spending.
Boomers Show Greatest Increase in Those Stockpiling Groceries: Baby Boomers are the generation showing the greatest increase over the three week period, with 34 percent now saying they are stocking up versus only 10 percent last survey, a 240 percent increase. However, Millennials (47 percent) and Generation Z (49 percent) are stocking up more so than other generations.
Due to the pandemic, many Baby Boomers are joining their younger counterparts and are turning to online shopping. Twenty-three percent of Baby Boomers (compared to 8 percent at the time of the last survey) are shopping more online, with Generation Z (37 percent), Millennials (42 percent), and Generation X (35 percent) also increasing their shopping online.
Take a look at our report for more details.
As the Coronavirus continues to tighten the screws on society and more states and countries limit mobility in order to contain the spread, it’s likely that nearly all non-grocery shopping will be done online in the weeks to come, at least for a while. Retailers need to begin to understand not only the new normal in terms of supply chain and delivery, but also understand that their role as touch points for normalcy for many consumers. Meeting the evolving needs of shoppers, whether it is necessity, entertainment or comfort, requires understanding your customer. This has never been more critical to inspiring trust and loyalty for the long term. Stay safe.