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    What's In Stock? Inside Shoppers' Emergency Stockpiles

    It's a classic motto with new meaning: be prepared.

    When the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted supply chains earlier this year, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and canned goods became scarce. Spooked by these shortages, shoppers began storing food and supplies at home.

    We asked 500 of our mobile shoppers (we call them agents) to tell us what they're keeping in stock, and to photograph the stockpiles. Read their insights below, and take a peek at their stashes!

    Why Stock Up?

    As the pandemic progresses, stockpile habits change. We asked our agents when they kept a stockpile, and for how long.


    COVID-19 Stockpile Habits


    We posed a simple question to our agents who keep stockpiles: why? Almost half cited shortages at the store as a primary reason, and 43% said that they were trying to make fewer trips to the store as a result of the pandemic. Another 36% were simply concerned that they would run out of necessary items. And interestingly, 17% of our agents said that they felt a compulsion or urge to purchase and store more items than they normally would. 

    Not everybody stills sees the value of storing goods at home. In addition to the 31% who never kept a stockpile, another 22% kept one at one point during the pandemic, but no longer do. Most of the agents who no longer keep a stockpile said that the items which were hard to find earlier in the year are now easier to find, making their stockpiles irrelevant.

    How long are these stockpiles designed to last? Of our agents who are prepared, most are WELL prepared. 79% said that their stashes should last at least 3 weeks (and a whopping 25% hope to stretch theirs longer than 8 weeks!)


    COVID-19 Stockpiles Designed to Last


    Stockpile Staples

    What are agents keeping in their stockpiles? We gave agents a list of categories and had them choose everything currently in their stash. 


    COVID-19 Stockpiles Currently Stockpiling


    Top choices include toilet paper (71% of agents keep it in their stockpiles), shelf-stable staples like rice and pasta (68%), personal cleaning products and canned goods (66% each), and household cleaning products.


    Let's Talk Brands

    Are shoppers splurging on name-brand goods, or stocking up on generic or store-brand options? Our agents broke it down for us.


    COVID-19 Current Stockpiles name brand vs generic


    It seems that most shoppers are sticking with familiar name-brands when it comes to household products, with the biggest difference represented in personal cleaning products (like hand soap and shampoo). In that category, 51% of our sample are stockpiling name-brand products, while only 19% are keeping generics.

    On the other hand, the majority of our agents are stocking up on store-brand food items. The difference was especially dramatic in canned goods, where 48% are buying generic brands, and 27% are picking up name-brands. 


    Stockpile Pics

    Curious what these stockpiles look like? We were too. Check out these photos of our agents' emergency supplies.


    COVID-19 Stockpiles Agent Photos

    Agents say...

    "I started a stockpile about 6 months prior to the pandemic, and had enough products that I was able to limit my trips during the height to about once every three weeks." - Deb J., Louisiana

    "I just like to have stuff on hand so I don't have to run to the store if I need one item." - Christina Z., Virginia

    "I do not want to run out of supplies. I think there will be more supply shortages in the winter." - Steven N., Pennsylvania


    Bonus Insight: What's On Store Shelves?

    Speaking of keeping things in-stock, we asked our 500 agents what items they've noticed in short supply at their local grocery stores in the past month. Below are the top 10:


    COVID-19 Stockpiles Recent OOS


    Surprise, surprise: the top items that agents report out-of-stock are some of the most common items in their stockpiles: products for cleaning homes and people, paper products, and canned goods. 


    Show Up On-Shelf

    Is your brand in stock? It's simple: if shoppers can't see your product, they can't buy your product. Field Agent can get you direct visibility to any store shelf, anywhere. Learn more by clicking the link below!

    "Great team to work with, they provide detailed reports that help maintain consistency in stores! Great job Field Agent!" - Alex, satisfied client


    Learn about OSA with Field Agent

    Mobile Research, Grocery


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