British consumers are 'shopping around' for food and grocery items more frequently due to the lifting of COVID restrictions, new data from IGD's ShopperVista has shown.
The number of food and grocery outlets currently being used by UK consumers stands at 13, which is the highest level since December 2018, the data showed.
This shift in frequency has been seen most in hypermarkets and supermarkets over the past month, and has been driven by the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions coupled with warm summer conditions and the Euro 2020 football competition.
“During the pandemic and consequent lockdowns, retailers have been able to capitalise on relatively captive audiences," commented Simon Wainwright, director of global insight at IGD.
"Now, as restrictions lift, shoppers have the freedom to shop around for favourite products, quality and variety. The increase to pre-pandemic levels may be a result of shoppers making up for lost time, boosted by feel-good events, such as the Euro finals."
IGD Shopper Confidence Index
According to IGD's latest Shopper Confidence Index, confidence levels remain relatively strong among consumers, at -3. That said, concerns around inflation have doubled since April, to 16% (compared to 8% in April 2021), indicating that many expect food prices to get much more expensive.
That said, despite the current challenges over labour shortages and delivery issues, 75% still trust the food and consumer goods industry to ensure a good availability of food and groceries, the same level as last month.
“Retailers will need to concentrate on driving loyalty to maintain market share, by focusing on range, quality and innovation," commented Wainwright. "There will be a real spotlight on value as inflation rises, particularly for lower income households.”