The coronavirus could permanently change how we shop for groceries

by | May 18, 2020

Grocery stores are adapting, and many of us are getting used to new fixtures: Employees wearing masks, plexiglass barriers at registers, and antibacterial wipe dispensers. Some of these will fade away as coronavirus cases decline, but some will become the norm.

Many analysts predict the pandemic will fundamentally change the way we grocery shop for many years to come.

Here’s how:

  1. We’ll make fewer trips to the store

According to a consumer behavior survey released by Acosta, shoppers are currently making 52% fewer trips than they were before the pandemic. And 47% said it’s extremely or very likely they’ll continue to make fewer trips post coronavirus.

  1. Goodbye browsing, hello planning

The days of spending hours browsing through the aisles may be over. Instead, expect more lists. “Right now, we’re trying to go to the store as infrequently as possible, which requires forethought and creative menu planning,” said Trae Bodge, a lifestyle journalist who covers shopping trends. “I can see this kind of efficient shopping continuing once the worst of the pandemic has passed.”

  1. So long to samples and self-serve stations

It’s unlikely that many stores are going to bring in-store sampling back anytime soon, experts say. Decreasing touchpoints and limiting areas where cross-contamination may occur will continue to be a priority for store management teams.

  1. Curbside pickup and online ordering are here to stay

“After this is all over, I can see shoppers continuing to order online, especially those who, before COVID, struggled to squeeze shopping into their busy schedules or found shopping to be physically challenging,” said Bodge.

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