Stimulus checks didn’t translate into groceries

Despite rising food costs, low consumer confidence and grocers' mass-marketing push to attract economic stimulus spenders, approximately 84 percent of U.S. consumers in a nationwide survey said they did not use the check they received from the federal government to purchase groceries. Sponsored by Toronto-based Precima, a retail analytics firm that translates consumer shopping data into critical market insights, the survey of 1,948 consumers was conducted during the first half of June by ICOM Information & Communications. Of those, 1,317 said they had received their stimulus checks, and 1,106 said they did not spend the rebate on groceries. Respondents who did not spend their rebate checks on groceries said: they cooked at home more in the past six months instead of spending at a restaurant (82 percent); made fewer trips to buy groceries in the past six months (72 percent); and shopped at the same grocery store for the past six months (89 percent). "The grocery industry didn't convince the American consumer that maximum return on stimulus checks could be achieved right in the supermarket aisles," says Precima General Manager Brian Ross. "The average family of four's $1,800 rebate equates to about three months of grocery buying, a prime opportunity for stores to influence shopping behavior. The rebate checks were a missed opportunity for grocers as consumers in this economic environment opted to earmark the funds for other uses - paying down debt, spending on necessities like gasoline and utilities or putting into savings."