Covid-19 has changed the way Irish people shop with 73 per cent of consumers saying they have changed their behaviour as a direct result of the pandemic. New research findings by FMI show that 12 per cent of shoppers only purchased from one retailer and that between just two and five per cent of shoppers surveyed stayed loyal to a retailer.
It highlights the growing importance of brand loyalty to retailers and the value to be gained from engaging with existing customers. Throughout the pandemic the focus on communities and on supporting local has been a key message to encourage unity and to ensure the survival of small businesses in these uncertain times.
It is an issue that strongly resonated with 86 per cent of respondents aged 35 and above. Generation Y and X typically care more about sustainability and the pandemic highlighted their willingness to extend this to supporting local economies, while also recognising that having local amenities within walking distance is a lifeline for the elderly and vulnerable.
Without the freedom to simply pop to the shops, consumers went online to buy groceries, putting digitally savvy retailers first in line. FMI’s research found that leading the online grocery shop is the 35-44 year old demographic, with 10% having moved their grocery shop online for the first time, during the coronavirus pandemic.
Of those customers surveyed who moved online, 21 per cent found the service to be good, yet only one in five of them plan to continue to shop online in the future. It suggests that Ireland still has some way to go in converting consumers to shopping online only for grocery and it also suggests that Irish consumers remain keen on the in store shopping experience.
Eight in 10 of the customers who shopped online, did so less than twice a week. Interestingly, 84 per cent of respondents who shopped more often reported an increase in spend, compared to half of those who shopped less frequently who also spent more. The demographic reporting most changes to their shopping patterns were 45-55 olds, with 62 per cent reporting that although they shopped less often, 90 per cent of them shopped more than once a week.
As expected, the research showed that 72 per cent of 35-44 year olds reported an increase in their shopping spend compared to the overall average of 55 per cent. It may be due to the fact that families were forced to stay at home at this time and parents were looking for new recipe ideas and inspiration for simple home cooked meals.
Couples were having date nights at home and friends were hosting virtual dinner parties. The FMI study also found that the age 65+ age bracket are less likely to impulse buy, with the 18-24 year olds more likely to end putting more groceries in their trolleys than planned.