US consumers are cooking more meals at home, driving up grocery demand. In fact, while other retail categories have seen sharp declines, the growth in food and beverage store sales from February to March 2020 was 26% higher than the same period last year.
The most affected retailers, including chains like Albertsons and Walmart, have announced they are hiring nearly half a million workers to keep up with growing demand.
Staying at home is not only driving the need for more frequent grocery runs, but also causing a shift toward online grocery buying as shoppers avoid in-store contact. Digital grocery shopping activity increased week-over-week throughout the entire month of March.3 Moreover, as consumers become accustomed to the convenience of grocery pick-up and delivery, these buying behaviors are likely to stay intact after the pandemic. 43% of US adults say they are somewhat or very likely to continue buying groceries online after COVID-19.