Insights manager at HIM & MCA Insight Katie Prowse discusses the new missions driving customers to stores.

The outbreak of coronavirus has seen vast changes in the way we live our lives and shopping is no exception. Our latest research into consumer behaviour and missions has revealed new drivers to store as lockdown continues. These new shopper missions are falling into three main categories: increased home consumption, virus avoidance through measures such as social distancing and missions centred around new social occasions

HIM_Katie Prowse

Increased home consumption missions

With the vast majority of meals and snacks being consumed at home, basket sizes have increased across lockdown. In addition to purchasing more products, three in ten consumers are also buying bigger pack sizes. The purchase of larger packs is both accommodating to the heightened snacking and feasting (earlier in lockdown we reported that nearly half of consumers admitted they were snacking more), but also more economical with larger pack sizes often boasting better value for money credentials.

As such, this behaviour is more typical of households with children, with two in five 25’s-54’s purchasing bigger pack sizes. Also, in keeping with the heightened consumption theme, 29% of consumers said they have stocked up on food for a family meal, reflecting the relocation of out of home dining to in-home.

Social distancing and preventative measure related missions

Within days of the announcement of the lockdown, many retailers had introduced new measures designed to protect both shoppers and staff. This included limiting the number of people in-store, dedicating certain timeslots for key workers to shop and introducing in-store social distancing measures.

A necessary consequence of the aforementioned limits on numbers in store has been the queueing outside stores – at a two meter distance of course. Over a quarter of consumers (27%) have visited an alternative shop when faced with a queue. Again, it is family-aged consumers appearing to be the most time poor (or the least patient!), with a third (32%) of 34-54s bidding to avoid queues. The 35-54 age group also leads in attempts to socially distance, with over a quarter (26%) visiting a specific shop because it is easier to practise social distancing, an over-index against the 23% total.

New social occasion missions

With social activities limited to outdoors and open spaces, 17% of shoppers say they have bought BBQ or picnic items during lockdown. Unsurprisingly, it is younger shoppers who over-index here, with one in five 18-24 year olds and over a quarter (27%) of 25-34s buying items for BBQs or picnics. As the summer season continues, retailers have an opportunity to communicate their BBQ and picnic range, as well as other outdoor related groceries and goods, through in-store installations, promotions and bundles.