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Acosta is out with a new report saying that " 53% of shoppers plan to stock up if another shutdown occurs," and that retailers need to be prepared for this eventuality.

“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.”

Some data points from the study:

•  "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."

KC's View:

While a lot of shoppers were frustrated by out-of-stocks the first time we went through this, most retailers could persuasively argue that we all got caught off-guard by pandemic realities, and that we all were in it together.

I suspect - I have no evidence to back this up - that customers may be less forgiving if we have another round of shutdowns that prompt panic buying.  It just makes sense to me … in the way that I also think it is inevitable that the next 6-9 months are going to be very rough in the US because of the coronavirus.  I hope I'm wrong, but I don't think I will be.

And so, retailers better be preparing now - not just in terms of stocking up themselves, but with programs designed to deal with heightened demand in a way that works.

One thing seems sure.  Amazon will be ready … and I suspect will be more ready the second time around to make sure its best customers (Prime members) and subscription customers (with Subscribe & Save) are taken care of in a way that reduces panic to some extent.