People are visiting grocery stores less but buying more at once ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Rimi supermarket.
Rimi supermarket. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

During the ongoing coronavirus crisis, people have started going to grocery stores less frequently, but are buying more products when they do. This also shows that people are buying less prepared food and more meat to make their meals, as well as more potentially self-healing products like lemon and garlic.

"Consumer behavior has changed a lot during recent months. While at the beginning of the month, visits to the stores were frequent, then as of today, the frequency has dropped significantly, yet the shopping basket volume has increased by about 10 percent. That means that people are visiting the stores less, but buying more at once," Sales Manges of Rimi, Margus Amor told ERR.

Amor said the situation has also normalized compared with March. "Whereas at the beginning of March we were shopping at a high point, people were buying basically everything they saw and could grab, then now the situation has normalized and food baskets are more logically picked - people are buying the necessary products," Amor added.

However, Amor noted that the products people are buying have changed. "Meat sales have increased. One of the reasons for this is that lots of open counter products have now been removed from the counters, including fish and salads. Nowadays, when people are home more, they are buying big pieces of meat to cook delicious meals for their families," Amor said.

Amor admitted that people are not yet buying cheaper products to the extent they did during the last economic crisis. "We can say customer behavior has changed, but I wouldn´t dare to make any fundamental conclusions about the product choice. All savings have not run out yet. If this situation were to prolong, then people would probably start buying similarly to the last crisis."

Amor confirmed that there are no problems with the availability of food products. "At the beginning of March, the sales numbers rose to their all-time highest and we are out of many products. But this situation was restored quite quickly and now we can almost say that we have all of the goods in stock," he said.

"People are definitely taking more care of themselves than ever before - all self-treatment products like lemon and garlic- the demand for these is high and there are empty shelves at times, but we can´t say that something has completely run out, because the borders in Europe are still open and the goods are coming," he said.

According to Statistics Estonia, the change in the consumer price index in March, at -0.7 percent, was the lowest in three-and-a-half years and had not fallen below 0.9 percent since October 2016, when it stood at 0.6 percent.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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