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Four Fifths Of UK Shoppers Have Experienced Out Of Stocks, Study Finds

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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Four Fifths Of UK Shoppers Have Experienced Out Of Stocks, Study Finds

Some 82% of UK shoppers say that they have experienced out-of-stock products in supermarkets in the past year, an 11-percentage-point increase on last year, a new study has found.

The study, by software provider Retail Insight, found that 82% of UK shoppers have experienced out-of-stock products in-store in the past 12 months, while 60% have experienced the same issue online.

Elsewhere, some 71% say that they believe product availability has become more of a problem since the pandemic, with three quarters of shoppers (75%) say they now experience more out-of-stocks than at the start of the cost-of-living crisis.

Some 60% of British shoppers said that their favourite brands have been less available in-store over the past 12 months, while 45% have noticed that more items are missing from their online grocery orders.

Some 1,000 shoppers were surveyed for the study.


Supply Chain Factors

Supermarket supply chains in the UK have had to contend with a number of issues in recent months, from bad weather leading to a shortage of tomatoes and other salad crops, to the effect of avian flu on egg prices.

“Regardless of the causes – of which there are many and, rather unjustly, a great number of which remain outside of a retailer’s direct control – poor product availability doesn’t just impact customer experience at the shelf edge," commented Paul Boyle, CEO of Retail Insight. "This can cost retailers lost sales and, even more detrimentally, long-term loyalty.”

When asked about the factors impacting product availability, 57% of respondents cited the growing cost of food production, while and 56% pointed to inflation as the biggest factors impacting stock levels.

Elsewhere, 43% said that increased logistics costs were to blame, with two fifths (40%) blaming Brexit factors.

Finally, some 27% of UK consumers would 'question their loyalty' to a particular supermarket if out-of-stocks became a regular occurrence, while a similar percentage (27%) said that they would switch their allegiance to a competitor.

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