AHDB data shows UK shoppers restricting purchases due to COVID-19

Price is on the rise as a key purchase driver as new AHDB research reveals a third of UK consumers have seen a change in household employment status in the wake of COVID-19.
calendar icon 29 September 2020
clock icon 5 minute read

AHDB’s latest consumer tracker, conducted by YouGov in August 2020, shows 14 percent of households were affected by furlough, 13 percent had their hours reduced, six percent had been made redundant or asked to resign and three percent had been made to take unpaid leave. This is on top of the 19 percent who were unemployed, retired or in education before March.

That leaves just 48 percent of workers unaffected by the pandemic. As a result of tightening purse strings, cost has grown in importance to shoppers over the past three months with 43 percent saying they have become more price conscious. This figure increases in line with the number of children in a household, rising to 57 percent for those with three or more children.

Overall, time to cook is the most important purchase driver but as the recession bites, it is losing ground to price. At category level, price is the most important factor for meat at 33 percent, whereas for dairy and potatoes, the best-before date remains paramount. Provenance is also becoming more important, with British or local choice growing as a factor across all three categories.

The AHDB/YouGov tracker also looked at money-saving behaviours in store. Just over half of shoppers had switched from brands to supermarket own-label, 49 percent had bought more products on promotion and 42 per cent had swapped to cheaper stores.

Grace Randall, AHDB consumer insight analyst, said: “Money-saving behaviours can hold opportunities to position products with that in mind. Increased cooking from scratch tends to benefit fresh and chilled categories while increased focus on reducing food waste may benefit frozen and products packaged in such a way to extend shelf-life. Customers can also be encouraged to trade up to premium lines for date nights or celebrations in the home as people reduce spend on eating out or takeaways.

“It’s also important to remember while price is important, it is not the only influencer of choice and needs to be balanced with other drivers such as versatility, taste and convenience.”

Click here to read the full report.

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