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Momentive study: retail attitudes and COVID-19

Momentive study: retail attitudes and COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic may have altered how American consumers  shop, but it did not change their love of shopping, according to a new study from Momentive. Retailers everywhere had to quickly pivot to new digital channels, update store policies, endure closures and reopenings, and navigate supply chain issues. Some companies fared better than others. Looking at shifting habits around purchasing bigger ticket items — like large appliances, vehicles, electronics, and furniture — is one way to understand how COVID-19 has impacted retailers. 

Key findings:

  • 65% of U.S. adults have made a major purchase during the pandemic
  • Over half (54%) of Americans have experienced stock/supply/shipping issues related to COVID-19
  • Supply chain issues are persisting: 47% of people have purchased items that were not their first choice, because their desired item was out of stock or unavailable due to the pandemic
    • And of those, 41% most recently did so in the last three months
    • 1 in 5 (20%) of these shoppers plan to buy their secondary choice, keep it, and then buy what they really wanted when available
  • When consumers have resorted to purchasing second-choice items, clothing & accessories (40%), electronics (30%), and appliances (31%) were the three most popular types of items
  • 30% of U.S. adults have had buyers remorse since the pandemic started
    • Of those, the top three types of purchases that have caused buyer’s remorse over the past year and a half are: furniture (21%), electronics/video games (20%), and clothing & accessories (20%)
  • Those who have made a major purchase during the pandemic are buying from Amazon at a much higher rate (74%) compared to those who have not made a major purchase (54%)

Americans purchasing behavior during pandemic:

A majority of U.S. adults (65%) have made a major purchase during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Among those who have made a major purchase, clothing and accessories are the top type of purchase (59%), followed by appliances (52%) and electronics/video games (47%)
  • 35% of those making over $100,000 annually made a major travel-related purchase (flight, cruise etc.) compared to only 20% of those making $50,000-$99,999, and a mere 10% of those making less than $50,000
  • Consumers are worried about the COVID-19 Delta variant; 61% think the strain will have a negative impact on shipping delays, about a quarter (24%) think there will be no impact, and 15% think things will get better. People who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 are more likely to say there will be no impact (32%) compared to those who have gotten the vaccine (19%)

Majority are purchasing from big retailers

Amazon and Walmart continue to dominate retail during COVID-19, with over two-thirds of Americans purchasing from them (67% and 68% respectively). 

Retailer findings:

  • Costco is popular among those who have purchased large quantities of an item after it became available after COVID-19 stock issues (27%); that number drops almost by half among those who have not made any stock-related purchases (14%)
  • Best Buy is a desired destination for those making holiday purchases earlier than normal due to COVID-19, with 38% of those early shoppers purchasing from there compared to 23% among consumers overall
  • Apple is especially popular among Gen Z: 27% of those under age 25 have purchased from Apple during the pandemic, compared to 13% of millennials and Gen X, and 4% of Boomers

COVID-19 supply chain issues impact consumer purchasing behavior:

Supply chain problems have abounded during the pandemic: 

  • 54% have experienced some sort of stock, supply, or delivery issue directly because of COVID-19
  • Nearly half of consumers (47%) have bought items that were not their first choice because their first choice was out of stock or was experiencing delivery delays due to these issues
  • Big purchasers are experiencing more problems with the supply chain. Among those who have not made a major purchase, only 38% have had an issue with supply or delivery, compared to 63% who have made a large purchase
  • Among consumers who have made a second-choice purchase, 41% have made a second-choice purchase in the last 3 months or less
  • 78% of consumers who have purchased second-choice items in the last three months say they have experienced shipping or stock issues
  • Men are more likely than women (41% vs. 22%) to purchase electronics or video games that are not what they originally wanted; women are more likely than men to purchase clothing and accessories that are not what they had originally wanted (47% vs. 35%)
  • Over two-thirds (68%) of people have bought larger quantities of an item because of past stock issues, fear of future stock issues, or both

Read more about our polling methodology here
Click through all the results in the interactive toplines below: