Adapt to survive

50-odd days into lockdown and counting, and we’ve been through the mill. From the early days of panic buying to now, where online delivery slots are seeing demand like never before and colleagues debate the merits of which shop’s one-way system is the most efficient.

Since the outbreak, shoppers have had to visit new stores to get their essentials, buy new brands out of necessity rather than choice and looked at new ways to get their shopping. Retailers have had to adapt too, with many offering additional delivery slots, dedicated shopping hours and changed opening hours.

With any change, there’s an opportunity, and Kantar outlined seven pivots for success, and the short- and long-term impacts. The full report is available here.

38% are more likely to switch brands now

These seven points re-emphasise a lot of what we already know, however the opportunity for growth is something that some brands may not be capitalising on yet, and it’ll be important to adapt to the changing landscape. Equally, incumbent brand leaders need to strategise about how they’ll continue to engage with their audiences to maintain that share. Particularly for the cash-strapped shopper segment, 38% of people are more likely to switch brands.

Snacking more is something that most of us can agree is happening, but it’s also backed up by Clear Channel ROI and Tesco, who sold an additional 700,000 units of biscuits in the last 10 weeks. Sales of chilled pizza and garlic bread have also increased (up by €400k in four weeks), as too has fruit (+32%), and most significantly, ice cream sales were up 74% YoY.

Delivering a solution for audiences who are snacking more and having to adapt to a different era of celebrations and interactions has resulted in a unique adaptation from the hospitality industry. To counteract what is likely to be a long-term closure, many restaurants are now offering cook at home packages to recreate dishes, as well as online ordering and contactless collection for takeaway services. The hospitality trade, which is a key economic driver, has been hit particularly hard by the crisis. Hospitality Ulster estimate that as many as one quarter of restaurants in NI will have closed for good as a result of the pandemic, those that aim to reopen won’t be able to until the fifth and final phase of the roadmap. Social distancing will have further impacts on the hospitality trade as venue capacity is limited.