Pandemic prompts less loyalty from Italian consumers

One outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy is that it has prompted consumers to be less loyal, both in terms of the food brands they purchase and where they make their purchases.

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(Lester120 | Bigstock)
(Lester120 | Bigstock)

One outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy is that it has prompted consumers to be less loyal, both in terms of the food brands they purchase and where they make their purchases.

Livio Martucci, director of global analytics and consulting, IRI, discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted business in Italy during the April 8 webinar, “Lessons From Italy: How COVID-19 Might Continue to Affect the Retail Landscape During Lockdown.”

When the pandemic was in its early stages, consumers in Italy went into panic mode, stockpiling food and other essential items.

What occurred, Martucci said, was that many consumers were no longer shopping at their normal supermarket or store of choice. Visits to such crowded supermarkets became less common, and consumers instead opted to smaller stores that were closer to their homes in an effort to both make the shopping process shorter, but to also reduce their risk of a COVID-19 infection.

“Store loyalty decreased significantly,” he said.

The shoppers also made fewer visits, but they also made larger purchases.

At the same time, product loyalty also became less important to consumers. Martucci said that since the beginning of 2020, brands have seen a 2.3% decrease in value share, while the value share of private label products increased by the same amount.

While Martucci said the future is uncertain as to whether these trend changes will endure, but he said he believes at least the brand loyalty or disloyalty trend will continue. He added less brand loyalty means, “some brands have a great opportunity to ride this road.”

With consumers more willing to deviate from their shopping norms, companies should do all they can to communicate with the public the value and other assets of their brands, Martucci recommended.

View our continuing coverage of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.

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