Shopper Media today has released the findings of its Consumer Sentiment Study, revealing the impact of COVID-19 on current and future shopping patterns and the behavioural and attitudinal shifts driving the changes. Shopper Media Group boasts a portfolio of more than 360 shopping centres, reaching more than 11.3 million Australian shoppers per fortnight**, so has the data set to analyse shopping centre performance across a large number of locations.
Karissa Fletcher, Head of Marketing at Shopper Media, says, “Shopper Media undertook the Consumer Sentiment Study because its real-time daily data in March and April showed a fluctuation in footfall in local centres across Australia due to stockpiling, restrictions to nonessential retail and increased shopping ahead of the Easter weekend. Footfall figures surpassed Christmas crowds in early March but began to soften and in recent weeks have steadied, now showing signs of growth as restrictions begin to lift.”
Fletcher said “Our centres have also seen the average dwell time increase by 25% in over 30% of our network of shopping centres nationally*, so we wanted to get an accurate understanding of shoppers’ attitudes as restrictions lift. What has been unchanged throughout is that local shopping centres remain the destination for essential retail for Australian consumers.”
“Shopper Media utilises market-leading technology that is 100% digital, and with MIST Wi-Fi in our centres we are able to collect first-party data. This enables us to know exactly what is happening in every one of our shopping centres in real time, setting us apart from our competitors. With access to daily data and the ability to ask shoppers real-time questions, we are not providing averages, assumptions or approximations for third-party sources, we are capturing and identifying real-time data insights into consumer shopping behaviours and attitudes, as revealed by the Consumer Sentiment Study.”
The Consumer Sentiment Study was an online survey of 11,390 Australian consumers nationally, with field work conducted in three parts across 24-27 April. The data-lead study has uncovered some interesting insights:
OUR FINANCIAL HEALTH
- Half of all Australian shoppers are concerned about having enough money for their weekly shop
- Personal income is a concern for 30% of shoppers, who feel less well off financially than before the pandemic.
IN THE HOME
- 50% of shoppers admit they are now changing the way they stock their pantries, with plans to keep them well stocked post-pandemic, specifically in food and hygiene goods, to avoid any potential future shortages
- Australian shoppers are increasingly turning to cooking meals at home when compared to the same time last year, with 32% of shoppers declaring a ‘newfound obsession with cooking’
- 46% of Australians are now creating more meals from scratch with the key drivers being a more simple life and desire to get back to basics
- But there is still those in search of convenience, with 32% buying more ready-made meals from the supermarket.
- 60% of Australians have purchased more supermarket home brands in place of their traditional brand choices
- 45% of Australian shoppers are showing they are more financially savvy with increased visitation to an Aldi supermarket during the pandemic in search of cheaper brands
- There is still a high level of brand devotees, with 64% of shoppers admitting to regularly visiting at least two supermarkets to purchase the branded products that they would normally buy
- Price remains the most important consideration factor when purchasing FMCG goods, followed by the “brands they trust/well-known brands”
- Some categories are more susceptible to switching brands when favourite or popular brands are out of stock, such as soft drinks and water, fruit and vegetables (e.g. tinned or packaged) and bread and cereals.
“What is evident from the study is Australians are looking to get back to basics and hold on to the simplicity they have enjoyed during COVID-19 restrictions.”, Fletcher said.
“Local, homemade and sustainably sourced items that are discounted or moderately priced will be most desirable, and it’s not a time for brands to be complacent with shoppers seeking price comparisons. It’s a time to remind shoppers of the benefits and emotional connection they have with the brand as they review and juggle the changes to personal and household income,” she concluded.
Sources: Consumer Sentiment Study, n=11,390, 24 – 27April 2020
*Shopper Metrix real-time data, April-May 2020
**Roy Morgan Research, December 2019