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Consumer Digest October 2021

October 22, 2021

Welcome to the October edition of the Consumer Digest, where we aim to provide relevant, informative and actionable insights around consumer trends and values. This month, we unpack the continued return to normal, highlight some recent trends around finances, SNAP, supply chain implications, and hear from our customers on their suggestions for shopping online.

Are consumers feeling pre-holiday financial stress?

82% of consumers feel that groceries are more expensive this month than last, overwhelmingly in meat and seafood. 41% said they are uncomfortable with finances given the upcoming holiday season. Price is most important to shoppers when grocery shopping, followed by quality, freshness and items being in-stock.

SNAP benefit increase

Starting in October, SNAP benefits increased 25%, the largest in the program's history. Of households that recognized their SNAP benefits were increasing, 92% of them said they would spend it on meat and seafood, followed by produce at 77% and frozen food at 61%. Meat/seafood and frozen are categories where, in general, SNAP households over-index on spend compared to total households.

Out-of-stocks lead to stocking up

With supply chain issues continuing, we asked consumers what they do when an item is out of stock. 28% of consumers will go to another in-store or online retailer if their item isn’t on the shelf. When it comes to stocking up on items, 75% of those surveyed said that paper towels/toilet paper are the top choices followed by non-perishable canned goods, water and cleaning supplies. Items that aren’t considered as stock up items are health/beauty care, snacks/candy and beverages.

Omnichannel shopping

Customers continue to shop multiple channels and have suggestions to make online shopping and pick up a better overall experience. The top reasons why consumers shop online relate to convenience and safety. 68% of shoppers say that they will continue to shop online the same amount in the future, 16% say they will shop more online in the future, and another 16% will shop less online in the future.

Thanksgiving plans

  • 62% of shoppers are planning to celebrate Thanksgiving with the same amount of people as last year, 15% with more people than last year, and 12% claim to be gathering with less.
  • When it comes to meals, 85% are looking forward to a traditional Thanksgiving meal cooked at their home or someone else’s and 7% plan to eat at a restaurant.
  • Those meals will be purchased in-store, with 68% making the trip in-store rather than ordering online, and 70% of shoppers are planning to spend the same amount this year.

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SOURCES: 1) 84.51° Consumer Pulse Survey, October 2021

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