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In-Store Shopping Will Make a Comeback This Year: Inmar

Survey finds consumers plan to head back into the store as vaccines become more available
family grocery shopping
Photograph: Shutterstock

More than a quarter (27%) of consumers indicate they will do most of their grocery shopping in-store once they are fully vaccinated, indicating this method of shopping will make a comeback in 2021, according to survey results form Inmar Intelligence. Additionally, one-third (38%) said they will do a combination of online and in-store shopping. 

“As vaccines become more widely available, it is natural that today’s shoppers choose to head back into the store as a part of their grocery shopping routine,” said Spencer Baird, EVP and president of Inmar Intelligence's MarTech division. “Most consumers are familiar with an in-store shopping experience—browsing and discovering new products—and there are some products that shoppers prefer to buy in-store.”

A return to the physical store is already underway: While 48% of shoppers are currently hybrid shoppers, 33% are currently shopping for groceries in-store, suggesting a steady return to normalcy and increased comfort with in-store shopping, Inmar said.

Target has witnessed a return to in-store shopping firsthand, executives indicated during the recent JPMorgan Virtual Retail Round-Up. “I think as Americans are getting vaccinated, those that have been shopping with us through order pickup or drive up or Shipt are now celebrating that occasion by physically coming back in our stores," Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell said.

Despite the growing trend toward heading to physical stores to shop, online shopping is not going anywhere, Inmar indicated. Forty-one percent of shoppers surveyed have ordered groceries online for delivery or pickup in the past six months. Although there are still challenges they face with online delivery, including surcharges (18%), quality of groceries (16%) and availability of time slots (14%).

Stockpiling is also here to stay for now. Inmar’s survey found that 51% of shoppers are still looking to stockpile throughout 2021, adopting a longer-term “be prepared” mentality, and 38% plan on stockpiling toilet paper, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, food and alcohol. 

“As consumers head back to the physical store, they plan to continue stockpiling everyday items, indicating the importance of longer-term preparedness,” Baird said. “Retailers must prepare for this longer-term shift, not only in terms of stock, but also providing today’s hybrid shoppers with a seamless omnichannel experience across a variety of touchpoints. No matter the age, shoppers expect to receive personalization, convenience and cost savings during each of their grocery trips.”



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