Majority of Shoppers Responding to Delta Variant and Product Shortages by Replenishing Stockpiles

Inmar Intelligence | August 12, 2021

Inmar Intelligence, a data-driven, technology-enabled services company, today announced the findings from a recent survey that aimed to find how the Delta variant and product shortages are impacting decisions to replenish their existing stockpiles. Out of the 1,000 survey respondents, 75 percent report currently seeing product shortages while shopping, indicating that we are yet again entering a season of questions around potential product inventory levels and anxiousness about when products will be back in stock. 

In reaction to the shortages, 69 percent of shoppers who had already built a stockpile in light of COVID-19 are planning to replenish their stockpile with items such as toilet paper, paper towels and hand sanitizer. But product shortages are not the only driver of this behavior; 85 percent of those who already have a stockpile or are planning to create one report that the media coverage of the pandemic and other current events have influenced them to begin to purchase and stash away household items. Family members (65 percent), friends (52 percent) and social media posts (35 percent) are also key influencers of this behavior. 

“While we were all hopeful that the pandemic was starting to be behind us, we are unfortunately seeing the opposite, and shoppers are reacting,” said Holly Pavlika, SVP, Corporate Marketing at Inmar Intelligence. “Shoppers are beginning to have flashbacks of last summer, being in lockdown and not having enough household supplies. This behavior has created a new shopper segment dubbed ‘The Squirrels’ - those who will always have an established stockpile in their homes.”

Sixty percent of shoppers with an existing stockpile report they still have products remaining, but 45 percent say they will purchase products for this replenishment that were not in the first, including more freezer items, canned goods and masks. 

“Shoppers are no longer solely relying on delivery or contactless pickup options to complete their shopping lists as we found that those who are continuing to work on a stockpile will shop in-store (46 percent),” said Pavlika. “But, the unknowns around vaccination status of other shoppers, anxiousness of what is to come in terms of additional variants and potential of increased prices have created a culture where a stockpile will always exist. Retailers will need to continue to be nimble and pivot quickly to keep up with changing behaviors and expectations.”