Analytics, AI/ML

The State of Grocery in North America

Cogent Infotech
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The State of Grocery in North America

Customer behaviors have changed drastically during the pandemic in which many businesses had to adapt to the winds of change. It has become essential for grocers across North America to understand the new industry benchmark and the changed behavior patterns.

The limelight was back on ‘grocery businesses’ during the days of the pandemic when people were working from homes. The industry saw a phenomenal increase in growth at 12 percent in 2020, which was seen earlier hovering between 1 to 2 percent pre-pandemic. The shoppers preferred to visit clean stores, follow health and safety measures, and have a decent product stock. Shoppers experienced a shift in price, services offered, and a different in-store experience than pre-pandemic businesses.

Here is an account of the radical shift in grocery-shopper behavior in North America:

Acceleration in online penetration

A significant number of grocers decided to bring their store online, with almost 20% of grocery orders coming from online sources. Tech-savvy areas saw an accelerated adoption of the online purchase option. The shoppers also seemed satisfied by the grocers providing click-and-collect and delivery options as well.

Moving to one-stop shopping

The statistics have revealed that consumers have drastically reduced their visits to the grocery store and found preference in getting all the items in a single place which would reduce their additional trips to the market. When the pandemic restrictions started to ease out in the late 2020s, it was found that it was at a level of 35 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Accelerating healthy habits

Medical professionals and the ministry of health have revealed that people with comorbidities had a severe increase in chances of complications from the virus. This increased the focus on well-being and healthy food habits, which sharpened the focus on wellness, and healthy food gained the spotlight.

Enhanced focus on affordability

Affordability also began to climb the ranks of priority in 2020. Around 45% of the shoppers showed an interest in planning ways to save money, and price and Quality balance in products had a heavy emphasis.

Customer personalization as a norm

Personalization of services and retail has gained importance in customized offers and real-time dynamic offers. The personalized offerings feature is evident as close to 60% of retailers have invested in personalized promotions and pricing capabilities. As the retail marketplace heats up, grocers have to stay competitive to maintain their market share.

The year 2020 brought in significant disruptions in the business models and customer expectations and set a ‘new normal’ for grocery stores. Stores have renewed their focus on fresh, new, and innovative ways across departments to match the new and exciting customer needs.

The year has been challenging to the business world and society at large however the grocery sector demonstrated a large amount of resiliency and continues to serve the consumer needs.



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