How often are British and American shoppers visiting the grocery store?
January 28th, 2021, YouGov

How often are British and American shoppers visiting the grocery store?

As with so many of our habits right now, the way we shop has been impacted considerably by the coronavirus pandemic. For some, a trip to the grocery store or supermarket has become the highlight of a monotonous week. For others, it’s a journey they take on only with great reluctance.

Following up on our recent piece on what kind of grocery store people around the world prefer to visit, in this piece we’re taking a quick dive into how often Americans and Brits shop for food.

In the UK, the most popular frequency is weekly, with almost half of all Brits (48%) choosing to do a big shop to see them through the week. Across the general population, the next most popular option is only to shop when it’s necessary and more than a fifth (22%) purchase groceries this way.

But looking across the age groups, habits vary significantly. A weekly stop is most common among 45-54-year-olds. More than half of this age group (56%) are creatures of a weekly habit and they are also the least likely to tell us that they have no routine at all (5%). By contrast, only 39% of 18-24-year-olds shop weekly – although it is still the most common choice of this age group.

It’s the over-55 age group who are most likely to tell us that they only shop as and when required (25%) – something that’s perhaps a result of a more flexible lifestyle in the later years of life. This kind of shopping certainly grows in popularity from the age of 25-34 upwards.

Very few shoppers of any age shop daily. This is data continuously collected over the past twelve months and this low rate of daily shopping is likely to reflect guidance in light of the pandemic to shop only as frequently as absolutely necessary.

In the US, there is a slightly different story. Here, fewer people overall shop on a weekly basis (39% compared to 48% of Brits). As a corollary, a greater proportion of Americans leave shopping until when they feel it’s necessary (29% v 22% of Brits).

Just like in Britain, however, once people hit the 25-34 age group, they become more and more likely to revert to shopping only when required as they get older. This group swells from 25% of 25-34-year-olds to 37% of those aged 55+.

Those who don’t do a big shop, but rather ‘buy bits and pieces when required’ are a smaller group in each country, representing both 7% of all Americans and all Brits. This small but significant group remains fairly steady across all age groups in both countries.

Methodology: The data is based on the interviews of 8,425 adults in Great Britain and 9,243 adults in the United States. All interviews were conducted online between January 2020 and January 2021 and results have been weighted to be nationally representative of each country.

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