Labour shortages impacting shopper availability – shopper research 8-10 October 2021

Date : 11 October 2021

Availability issues

Operational labour and HGV driver shortages are continuing to create challenges for supply chains. Food and consumer good businesses have been hit hard by recruitment and retention challenges in 2020 and 2021. This is resulting in lower order fulfilment levels than normal, meaning there is an impact on availability of some food and groceries.

Shortage of HGV drivers has become severe enough to disrupt food supply and the government has committed to a package of support. Download our latest Viewpoint Special Edition: Focus on Labour Shortages for more insight.

Availability concerns increase

 

In the latest shopper research conducted for IGD over this last weekend 8-10 October 2021, there has been an increase in the number of adults interviewed who experienced shortages of some food and groceries in-store or online recently.

  • 67% of adults claim to have experienced shortages of some food and groceries in-store or online recently, up from 62% last weekend.
  • Concerns are highest in London (76%), Scotland (73%) South West (73%) and South East (72%)
  • Claimed shortages are highest for fresh produce (25%), followed by dairy, fresh meat or fish (both 19%), soft drinks (18%), tins and packaged foods (17%).

Increased stockpiling

 

There has also been an increase in the number of adults who have recently felt the need to stock up or purchase more than they normally do (34% vs 27% last weekend). This is still relatively low compared to 50% in January’21 and a high of 64% in April’20.

There has also been an increase in the number who say they will or might stock up (40% compared to 34%). This is still much lower than the 60% recorded in March ’20.

 

Half (51%) in London claim to have stocked up recently compared to just 22% in Scotland. Stockpiling is also highest among those aged 18-24 (49%) and 25-34 (40%).

Category differences

 

The chart above compares the categories being stocked up and the categories that shoppers claim to be in shorter supply.

  • The top categories that are being stocked up remain tins and packaged foods (13%) and household paper (10%). These are followed by hand sanitizer (7%), household products and dairy (6%).
  • Claimed shortages are highest for fresh produce (25%), followed by dairy, fresh meat or fish (both 19%), soft drinks (18%), tins and packaged foods (17%).

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