The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on grocery shopper behaviour: Analysis of shopper behaviour change using store transaction data

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The systemic shock of coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on the global economy has been unprecedented with grocery shopper behaviour changing dramatically through various stages of the pandemic. COVID-19 has caused unusual market conditions, with significant changes to grocery shopper behaviour that need to be understood to allow for appreciation of shopper
behaviour change and retail planning implications during future systemic shocks. The aim of this study was therefore to understand grocery shopping behaviour during COVID19. Specific objectives were to investigate changes to grocery sale patterns by basket size, composition and category, as well as during specific time periods of the pandemic. The use of transaction data using a range of market basket indicators (e.g. value, size, product mix), revealed profound changes that indicate the challenge shoppers faced navigating a new ‘normal grocery shop’ and the pressure on retailers to analyse consumption changes in
order to prioritise demand planning. While the use of this data and analysis approach is an important contribution to consumer behaviour research, our focus was on the bigger patterns observed through the data pertaining to changes in shopper behaviour during systemic shocks.
A key contribution of this paper is how the use of transaction data from grocery retail provides a nuanced understanding of how grocery shoppers responded leading up to and during the pandemic. For example, we found that grocery shoppers purchased more than just ‘daily staples’ to stock up during the pandemic, with increased awareness of health and wellbeing an important aspect.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Consumer Behaviour
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 27 Sep 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • consumer behaviour
  • shopper behaviour
  • transaction data

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