We’ve focused a lot on consumer behavior recently here at Rithum. And we’re not done yet. 

Why? Because consumer behavior is a harbinger of sales. Because, as innovators, we want to understand the directions in which our industry is heading. And, well, because it’s fascinating. 

As we’ve mentioned several times in the last year, we teamed up with leading global research firm Dynata to regularly survey shoppers at the beginning of the pandemic to measure changes in consumer activity in real time. We’ve shared detailed results from our most recent survey in a webinar available on demand.

However, Forrester’s research has also yielded interesting results. The State of the US Shopper reveals varied effects across product categories and buyer habits during the past year. 

What purchasing behavior shifts might become entrenched? 

Curbside pickup and options that allow shoppers to buy online and pick up in store are extremely popular. According to the 2021 Forrester Analytics Consumer Technographics Retail Recontact Survey, three out of four US online adults rate their experience with curbside pickup for both grocery and non-grocery orders as positive. Forrester also found that nearly a third of US consumers are likely to continue ordering online and using curbside or in-store pickup options. 

Contactless payments also enjoy strong support among US shoppers and have been growing in their adoption and use. In May 2020, 2% of shoppers indicated they had used contactless payments for the first time after the onset of the pandemic, and in the previous month, 19% indicated they were using contactless checkouts more often than they had before. A 2021 Forrester survey revealed nearly a quarter of shoppers felt safer shopping in stores with contactless checkout options.

How has online grocery ordering changed in 2021? 

After experiencing a surge in 2020, with growth of 75% year over year, online grocery purchases will likely continue — but may not grow quite as rapidly. Grocery customers are highly loyal and price sensitive. A 2021 Forrester survey found that only 6% were willing to pay for a same-day delivery service, although curbside pickup remains popular. Rapid adoption and likely continuation of online restaurant orders also capture a portion of the overall food and drink category that impact growth on online grocery sales — but this vertical overall involves such an enormous share of the consumer’s wallet that incremental growth in e-commerce can produce a sizable effect.   

What trends matter as we look into 2022?

Shoppers’ preferences for curbside pickup, contactless payments, and shopping on Amazon (46% expect to order more from Amazon even after the pandemic ends) point toward the need for a strong omnichannel presence with multiple fulfillment options for buyers. And although food and drink categories may not grow as strongly as they did in 2020, their significant portion of overall consumer activity means much more activity could occur in this space in e-commerce into the future. 

Check out all the insights Forrester offers in its report, The State of the US Shopper. You’ll find a wealth of information — charts, graphs and infographics with all of these statistics and more — plus thought-provoking discussion of what the survey results may indicate, the trends they may be revealing and what actions e-commerce professionals need to consider to stay engaged with their consumers.