Global: Consumers plan to increase their use of online grocery shopping post-pandemic
July 14th, 2021, Aishwarya Dabhade

Global: Consumers plan to increase their use of online grocery shopping post-pandemic

FMCG was one of the industries least affected as the world grappled with the COVID-19 health crisis. In fact, the demand for groceries and essential items sky-rocketed thanks to panic-buying during the lockdown. And while the retail industry evolved during the COVID challenge to meet surging demands, consumer behaviour towards essentials and grocery shopping too, saw a shift. But by how much?

Of the 18,966 people polled across 17 markets in YouGov’s International FMCG/CPG report, on average, 81% said that they bought essentials and groceries from stores in the previous month. Though several non-essential activities were placed on halt in most parts of the world during the lockdown, essential stores in most countries were permitted to continue functioning, as long as they kept COVID-related protocols in place. Despite facilities for online shopping and home deliveries, on average, only 30% of total respondents opted for delivery of online shopping, while a further 11% chose to click and collect.

Most (81%) of the respondents in our study across 17 markets said they have hopped on to a store to buy essentials and groceries; Looking at this data by country, Poland tops the list with nine in ten people choosing to go to a store. The report points out one potential reason for this - 49% of Polish shoppers find in-store purchasing more convenient. Italy, Spain, and Australia tie in second spot with 88%, followed by Germany and Denmark who share third place with 87%. France and Sweden secure the fourth spot with 84% of consumers having shopped in-store. Amongst European countries, the UK (United Kingdom) is least likely to go in-store grocery shopping (76%).

Those in Asian markets are marginally less likely to be in-store shoppers when compared to European markets. Singapore has the highest percentage (82%) while Hong Kong is not far behind 81%. In North America, Mexicans are slightly more likely (80%) to have shopped in-store than Americans (78%). Asian markets, China (72%), Indonesia (71%) and India (64%) are at the bottom of the list. The proportion of people visiting stores for essential groceries is far more compared to the percentage purchasing these goods online or using the click and collect option. Nonetheless, online shopping has considerable significance in certain countries, particularly those in Asia – and it’s set to grow. The three largest nations in Asia by population - India (67%), China (64%) and Indonesia (63%) - have the most consumers who plan to increase their use of online services. Even in the Asian markets where the intent is lower, more than half of the public (Singapore 53%; Hong Kong 53%) still plan to do more online shopping and arrange more online deliveries. However, Europeans are less likely to say they intend to increase their use of online delivery and 'click and collect' services. At just under two in five (38%) consumers, Britons are on the upper end of the regional scale. At the other end of the spectrum, German (26%), French (26%) and Danish (24%) consumers account for the bottom three.

The report mentions how lockdowns had a major impact on retail and supermarket shopping in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) - which may have influenced the greater-than-average intent to use online shopping and delivery services there. Over half of consumers say they plan to use these services in future (54%).

So, while the pandemic has shifted the grocery-buying habits of many consumers, in many markets the change isn’t done yet – shoppers are still looking to move more of this type of their shopping online. The challenge for retailers is how to meet that demand.

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Methodology: The data is based on the interviews of adults aged 18 and over in 17 markets with sample sizes varying between 506 and 2,077 for each market. All interviews were conducted online in January 2021. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from Mexico and India, which use urban representative samples, and Indonesia and Hong Kong, which use online representative samples.