Impulse purchases evolves to meet new consumer demands, shopping habits post COVID

Once limited mostly to individually-wrapped items corralled by the checkout stand to be consumed within seconds of leaving the store or on-the-go, impulse purchases today are more likely to be sharing sizes and larger multi- or variety-packs – reflecting the shift to working and snacking at home, and the desire to balance the demands of multiple members of the house, said IRI’s Sally Lyons Wyatt, EVP and practice leader.

She explained that in the US early in the pandemic fewer consumers were visiting stores and when they did they were more likely to stick to a list and buy items in larger quantities for their households. As a result, impulse purchases of individually wrapped items fell – forcing retailers and brands to rethink how they merchandised and marketed impulse items.

Sharable multi- and variety packs become hot impulse purchase

On the brand side, the answer was to create larger sharing sizes of permissible-indulgent and healthy items that shoppers could enjoy with other members of their household or to recreate snacking occasion at home while they were working or a hand-to-mouth grazing while relaxing in front of the TV.

As the world begins to reopen, these larger, resealable packages remain so popular that Lyons Wyatt noted they have “recently been facing out-of-stocks in the merchandising racks.”

She explained that according to IRI data 43% of consumers look for multi- and variety packs because they like to have more options for snacking (53%), members of the household prefer different snacks (48%), they are more affordable (40 %) and they offer portion control options (40%).


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