Data: Most Consumers Still Want to Shop Locally

Data Scout is Localogy’s series that curates and draws meaning from third-party data. Running semi-weekly, it adds an analytical layer to the industry data that we encounter in daily knowledge building. For Localogy original data, see the separate Modern Commerce Monitor™️ series.


It’s no secret that eCommerce is booming due to the current state of the world. eMarketer recently pegged eCommerce’s year-over-year growth at 30 percent. After hovering around 10 percent of U.S. retail spending over the past decade, it shot up to about 15 percent in 8 months.

But that necessity-driven adoption and “sign of the times” doesn’t necessarily paint a full picture of consumer sentiments and demand signals. According to a new report from Ubimo, 90.4 percent of consumers are still conducting at least one in-person shopping trip per week.


As shown above, the frequency of local in-person shopping indexes lower than pre-pandemic levels. But it’s still notable in terms of the continued importance of — and demand for — offline transactional behavior. Another notable trend is the nature of shopping trips which, though fewer, are more purposeful.

Put another way, there’s value in scarcity. And with the scarce frequency of local shopping, consumers are making them count, including more dedicated shopping lists and larger baskets. That compares with the less deliberate activity of visiting local stores with recreational, social or discovery-based intent.

“Throughout the past several months we have seen the ‘purposeful shopping trip’ surge among consumers,” Ubimo Director of OOH Norm Chait told Localogy Insider. “This idea is cemented by the fact that so many consumers are planning their trips, making specific stops for specific items, as illustrated by the survey. That means retailers and advertisers, particularly those in the CPG space, can cater to an exceptionally high-intent audience. Marketers should use this time to test what works and what doesn’t so they can optimize to convert these high intent audiences in the future.”

Holiday Plans

Other highlights we’ve extracted from the report include:

— More than two-thirds of consumers plan ahead to reduce time spent outside the home, particularly Gen-Z and millennial survey respondents.
— 82 percent of consumers always or usually go to the same stores every time they shop, possibly signaling that comfort levels and brand loyalty index higher in the current environment.
— 65.6 percent of consumers notice OOH advertising on their shopping trips.

— 81.7 percent notice it more or the same during the pandemic.
— 60.4 percent are likely to purchase a product on their shopping trip after seeing an OOH ad, especially Millennials.
— 63 percent of consumers believe that brand messaging within an ad is important in the current environment.

As background, Ubimo specializes in out of home media/tech (hence the OOH results). The survey-based report polled 1000 U.S. consumers about shopping behavior in 2020. First-hand consumer data like this is particularly relevant as retailers look to gain insights about strategies for the looming holiday season.

“While the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly caused consumer behaviors to shift, it’s interesting to see that the vast majority of consumers – over 90 percent – are still making weekly trips to stock up on necessities,” said Chiat. “Another way to think about this is that we are still a very long way away from a shift to online-only shopping; physical stores and the parts of the consumer journey that lead to and from them are still highly relevant.”

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