As the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a sharp spike in pantry loading and an increase in online shopping, millions of consumers have purchased brands they’ve never tried previously and purchased products from a retailer other than their routine destination, according to “The Super Surge of New Brand Trial During COVID-19,” a new report by IN Connected, an Advantage Marketing Partners agency.

This shift in shopping behavior has provided many brands and categories across the food, drug and mass channels an opportunity to get in front of new shoppers, according to the report.

“This extreme sampling event, or trial experience, is a significant gift for many brands,” according to Sherif Fahmy, senior vice president of IN Connected. “Similarly, retailers experienced an influx of shoppers purchasing new categories or making completely new trips to their doors altogether.”

The surge in new-brand buying has left marketers contending with households that are trying one, two or even three different brands in the same subcategory, the report noted. Brand expectations are being tested and preferred flavor profiles may change.

“Some shoppers are likely to abandon brands and retailers they were loyal to prior to the pandemic in favor of an alternative that has proven better,” Fahmy said.

“The Super Surge of New Brand Trial During COVID-19” details ways marketers can connect with new-brand shoppers — or reignite the loyalty of those who have moved on — including:

  • Start building a lasting bond
  • Blitz (or start) your loyalty program
  • Capture the give-back wave with charity
  • Provide contactless payment and auto-replenishment now
  • Organize your task list for today and tomorrow

“Our advice is to not squander this unique opportunity,” Fahmy said. “Marketers should send an invitation to these shoppers to stick around sooner rather than later.”

Download the Report