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Shoppers Return to Stores, Let’s Drink to That

Numberator Reports Shoppers Return to Stores

Consumers have returned to in-store shopping while continuing to shop online, according to Numerator’s Shopping Behavior Index. It also found that while the Home Improvement category is down, Alcohol sales are up.

“Overall, consumers are making more shopping trips and spending more per trip, but buying fewer items,” Numerator reported.

“This indicates that consumers are starting to make trade-offs across channels, with more discretionary channels like Home Improvement and Beauty seeing the biggest decline in units across income levels” – as consumers are forced to spend more on essentials.

Some select points of interest:

  • Total in-store spending is up 23% vs YA (year ago), with the highest increase among low income consumers (+26%). Online spending remains consistently at or above 2021 levels.
  • Growth of in-store shopping trips is being tempered by online. In 2021, online shopping drove trip growth, but in 2022, total trip growth across channels (+9% vs YA) is being tempered by online (flat vs YA). Online trips are being kept afloat by middle income consumers (+9%).
  • Home Improvement is the only tracked channel to consistently report decreased trip counts in 2022 (currently -21% vs YA), with consumers spending less time in their homes this year, and following a surge of home improvement projects throughout the pandemic.
  • Consumers are buying more alcohol. Similar to other channels, Liquor channel sales (+20%) and spend per trip (+20%) are elevated vs YA, but Liquor is one of only two channels (along with QSRs) to show consistent increases in units per trip, indicating that consumers are increasing their alcohol purchases, rather than an inflationary trend.
  • Middle income consumers are spending more and making more shopping trips than other income groups, across channels. Sales among middle income shoppers are up 23% vs YA and trips are up 14% (compared to low income consumers at +21% sales, +7% trips; high income consumers at +18% sales, +8% trips).

Note that Numerator defines income level brackets as follows: Low Income (<$40k/year), Middle Income ($40-$80k/year), and High Income (>$80k/year).

The Numerator Shopping Behavior Index tracks consumer buying behavior across 12 retail channels, including online, in-store, and quick service restaurants (QSRs), indexed against 2021 data.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.