Continued product shortages leave Aussie shoppers frustrated and angry

Sej Patel, the Country Director for Toluna in Australia & New Zealand

Supply chain issues continue to impact Australians, affecting both their mood and shopping behaviour, according to new research by Toluna, a leading consumer intelligence platform.

The research surveyed 1031 Australians and showed that many shoppers are happy to switch brands when their preferred brand isn’t available, leaving long-term brand loyalty in question.

73% have recently experienced product shortages because of ongoing supply chain issues.

In stores, shoppers experienced empty shelves (88%) and buying limits (66%), while online shoppers are experiencing delivery delays (50%) and brand unavailability (51%).

Grocery stores are most affected, with 85% citing availability issues in grocery stores.

However, Australian shoppers also reported having experienced product shortages in clothing and footwear retailers (19%), homewares (16%), and electrical stores (14%).

According to 64% of respondents, fresh meat is the hardest item to source, followed by pantry products (44%), fresh fruit and vegetables (40%), and household cleaning products (33%).

When it came to online shopping, almost half (47%) of respondents said they were willing to go back to in-store shopping due to products being temporarily unavailable online.

Brand loyalty and changing behaviours

When their preferred brand is unavailable, most (77%) Australians are willing to substitute for a new brand – something which may pose an issue for long-term brand loyalty.

Shoppers were happiest to switch to a different brand of chilled dairy (54%), household cleaning products (49%), or alcohol (44%) when their preferred brand was unavailable.

However, despite this scenario, Australian shoppers are more likely to shop around in search of their favourite fresh meat (40%), pet food (40%), or baby products (35%).

In addition to brand switching, 50% of respondents are now shopping in other locations, like local butchers or farmers markets, that are less impacted by supply chain issues.

43% buy extra of the products they need once they come back in stock, and 20% are stockpiling products such as canned goods, paracetamol, and toilet paper to boost supplies.

Stressed out and in prep mode

More than just an inconvenience, the supply chain issues are affecting shoppers’ moods.

67% feel disappointed and frustrated when they see empty shelves and missing products, and it can make them feel stressed (35%), anxious (36%), or even angry (27%).

Australians are also preparing themselves in case they get sick and have to isolate.

30% have created a ‘COVID kit’ filled with medicines they may need if they get sick, while 26% have enough pre-prepared food in the fridge and don’t need to cook when feeling unwell.

27% are also ensuring they have rapid antigen tests (RAT) available on hand if needed.

Toluna’s executive commentary

Sej Patel, the Country Director for Toluna in Australia & New Zealand offered insights.

“Product unavailability is affecting shopping behaviour. Aussie shoppers are clearly frustrated by the continued supply chain issues and are changing their behaviour as a result.”

“People are brand switching more than ever, as well as shopping around to find the items they need. For brands and retailers, this may have serious implications for brand loyalty.”

“While some shoppers will happily revert back to their favourite brands when they return to the shelves, other shoppers will just as happily stick with the substitute brands they tried.”

“Even once the supply chain issues are resolved, the next 6 to 12 months will be a challenging time in retail as brands fight to retain new customers while trying to win back old ones.”