Shoppers becoming more mindful of their grocery purchases

18 May 2020 Consultancy.com.au

The Covid-19 crisis is changing shopping habits, not only bringing a greater focus on health but also cultivating a more conscientious consumer sentiment. This is according to a new study by Accenture.

Nearly every aspect of daily life has been impacted by Covid-19 and the related disruption, be it going to work or a trip to the stores. Many have been analysing the practical considerations of this unprecedented scenario, painting a picture of how people are adapting to the physical restrictions.

Accenture now reports that a deep shift in overall consumer sentiment is emerging from the current circumstances. For starters, people have gone back to the basics. The authors of the study report a dramatic dip in the pursuit for “self-fulfillment,” through avenues such as personal accomplishment, job satisfaction, community belonging, entertainment, or even education and friendships.

Increasing focus on basic needs

Instead, the focus has majorly shifted to basic needs. For instance, personal health is first and foremost on the list of priorities for most consumers. Closely related, many are currently seeking food & medicine safety as well as personal safety, which is followed by financial security.

Australia is among the more financially secure markets per capita in the world, although the crisis has forced even the biggest of companies – including the Big Four giants – to take cost cutting measures. Many Australians have either lost their job or are working on reduced hours, driving them to evaluate their personal finances and shore up the near future.

The economic shock of the coronavirus pandemic cut a swathe through the labour market, and last month alone, over 600,000 jobs were lost, lifting Australia’s jobless rate to its highest level since September 2015. A boom in the number of people seeking early access to their superannuation funds is further indicative of the trend.

The health of friends and family follows on the list of priorities. According to Accenture, this focus on health is likely to persist beyond the near future. It might even become a permanent fixture, and the consultancy recommends that businesses adapt to these new priorities.

Shopping habits are changing for good

“Consumer packaged goods brands should heed this change and make it a priority to support healthy lifestyles for consumers, shoppers and employees. Having a “health strategy” will be a strategic differentiator in the foreseeable future,” explained the report.

Beyond health, however, the report highlights the unfolding of a sudden rise in conscientious consumption. Many appear to be taking into consideration the impact of their consumption on the environment and their community. Limiting food waster, for instance, has become a priority for many, in addition to shopping with health in mind.

Consumers are also making more sustainable choices, while many have also increased their shopping from local neighbourhood stores. 25% of consumers also report that they are shopping more for others, as communities unite to support friends and vulnerable sections of society.

Other considerations that have come into sharp focus include cost-effectiveness, as well as a tendency to only buy trusted brands. “Brands will need to make this a key part of their offer (for example, by exploring new business models),” said the report, speaking of an overall increase in sustainable choices, cost-effectiveness and trust.


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