Acosta Finds More Than Half of Shoppers Plan to Stock Up on Groceries if Another Shutdown Occurs

 Acosta, a leading full-service sales and marketing agency in the consumer packaged goods industry, today released the final installment of its 10-part COVID-19 shopper insights series, covering the evolution of consumer behavior and outlook amid the pandemic. The report, which found 53% of shoppers plan to stock up if another shutdown occurs, also provides suggestions to help retailers best meet customers’ needs.

“As COVID cases continue to rise, most shoppers believe we’re headed for another shutdown and plan to respond accordingly, so retailers should be prepared for a new surge in stocking up,” said Darian Pickett, CEO of North American Sales at Acosta. “The pandemic will also significantly impact back-to-school shopping this year, and retailers will need to adapt to parents’ new priorities and shopping preferences. Hand sanitizer, masks and gloves will be the most in-demand items, in addition to basic school supplies, and many will opt for online shopping and delivery options.”

Acosta’s tenth round of COVID-19 research provides insight into consumers’ concerns and plans for the future as well as key takeaways from Acosta’s entire research series to help retailers continue navigating the evolving CPG landscape, including:

Shutdown Stock-Up

  • Four months into the pandemic, the level of overall shopper concern remains high at 7.9 out of 10.
  • Sixty-seven percent of shoppers think another shutdown is extremely or somewhat likely to occur.
  • In the event of another shutdown, more than half of shoppers intend to stock up on groceries:
    • Thirty-eight percent of shoppers stocked up at the start of the pandemic and plan to stock up again.
    • Fifteen percent of shoppers did not stock up at the start but plan to stock up this time.
    • Seventeen percent of shoppers stocked up at the start but won’t this time.
    • Twenty-four percent of shoppers did not stock up at the start and also won’t this time.

Changes to Back-to-School Shopping & Holiday Plans

  • Back-to-school shopping will look very different this year.
    • Sixty-six percent of shoppers plan to buy hand sanitizer, 64% plan to buy basic school supplies and 60% plan to buy masks and gloves.
    • Thirty-three percent of shoppers plan to buy more online, 23% plan to have more delivered and 20% plan to shop in fewer stores.
  • With the holiday season approaching, 43% of shoppers are worried traditions will be impacted by the pandemic and celebrations will be disrupted, 25% are looking forward to the holidays and plan to celebrate as usual and 27% can’t even think about the holidays with everything else going on.

Key Takeaways from Acosta’s 10-Part COVID Series

  • The shopping experience has been interrupted and redefined with lasting impact.
  • The global recession is here and will be different than previous downturns.
  • E-commerce has accelerated 3-5 years, and omnichannel retailers will succeed.
  • Grocery retailers have benefited and gained share in the CPG marketplace.
  • Retail prices are up, and promotions are down; shoppers will pay close attention during the second half of the year.
  • Food at home has increased, and shoppers continue to stock up.
  • Center store categories and brands have been reinvigorated.
  • In-store food service has changed forever and will require creativity and innovation.
  • Shopper focus on health, wellness and safety is more important than ever.
  • Supply chain, product availability and SKU rationalization are key priorities for retailers.

Acosta’s research was gathered via online surveys using the company’s proprietary shopper community between March 6 and July 16, 2020 (shopper concern levels) and July 10 and 16, 2020 (remaining insights). To access the full report, visit

About Acosta

Acosta is the sales and marketing powerhouse behind most of the trusted brands seen in stores every day. The company provides a range of outsourced sales, marketing and retail merchandising services throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. For 90 years, Acosta has led the industry in helping consumer packaged goods companies move products off shelves and into shoppers’ baskets. For more information, please visit