More Infectious Delta Variant Worries Impact In-store Shopping

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Just as normalcy appeared to be on the horizon, increased Covid-19 cases attributed to the more contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus (SARS-Co-V-2) are leaving many Americans concerned about what’s to come, according to a Shopkick survey. Thirty percent of shoppers are more worried about the pandemic as Delta cases continue to rise, and 40 percent report feeling the same level of discomfort as they did one month ago. 

According to the Atlanta, Georgia-headquartered Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Delta is currently the predominant strain of the virus in the United States. It is considered to be more infectious and is leading to increased transmissibility when compared to other variants, even among vaccinated people.

Shopkick, a shopping rewards app company based in San Mateo, California, reports that 43 percent of those polled in its survey say that the Delta variant is impacting the way they shop, and nearly half (47 percent) are now more worried about shopping in-store. It surveyed nearly 11,500 consumers across the USA to gain an understanding of how the Delta variant is impacting their shopping habits. The online survey was conducted between July 21-27, 2021.

Key Insights Include:

● Proceeding with (Pre)Caution: The majority of consumers (61 percent) are taking extra precautions when shopping in-store due to the rise of Delta. Of those cautious consumers, most are once again masking up while shopping (82 percent), using disinfectants on hands and carts (79 percent), shopping at less busy times (66 percent), using debit/credit cards to avoid exchanging cash (63 percent), and utilizing self-checkout (59 percent).

● Concerning Counterparts: Of the consumers worried about shopping in-store, 85 percent are worried that other shoppers are not taking the proper safety precautions. To feel safer, the majority of those surveyed (70 percent) expect retailers to enforce safety precautions. However, 59 percent of worried shoppers fear retailers will fall short of this expectation. Consumers hope to see retailers disinfecting carts (83 percent), enforcing social distancing (65 percent), mandating masks (65 percent), limiting store capacity (42 percent), and putting a cap on the number of essential products each customer can purchase (38 percent).

● In-Store Stays on Top: Despite consumer fears, shoppers are still headed in-store. In fact, most (67 percent) report taking the same amount of trips to the store per week as they did last month, and 10 percent have found themselves going more often.

  • Changed Consumers: Fifty-five percent of the survey sample reported that the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way they will shop forever. Post-pandemic, consumers expect to continue to stock up on essentials (57 percent), shop online more (56 percent), and make fewer, but bigger, shopping trips (53 percent). However, after the pandemic, fewer shoppers plan to prioritize availability over brand preference (37 percent) and utilize convenience options like BOPIS (14 percent).

“Even with a surge in Covid cases and consumers wary of in-person shopping, they are still heading in-store,” said Dave Fisch, general manager of Shopkick. “Retailers need to prioritize making the experience as enjoyable as possible, while doubling down their focus on safety. Shoppers will expect nothing less than stocked shelves, a demonstrable commitment to safety in your store, and a trained staff setting the example.”