Supply chain issues continue to impact Australians, affecting both their mood and shopping behaviour, according to new research from leading consumer intelligence platform, Toluna. Many shoppers are happy to switch brands when their preferred brand isn’t available, leaving long-term brand loyalty in question.  

Most Australians surveyed (73%) have recently experienced product shortages because of ongoing supply chain issues. In stores, shoppers continue to experience empty shelves (88%) and buying limits (66%), while online shoppers are experiencing delivery delays (50%) and brand unavailability (51%).  

Grocery stores appear to be the most affected, with 85% of respondents citing availability issues in grocery stores. However, shoppers also report having experienced product shortages in clothing and footwear retailers (19%), homewares (16%), and electrical stores (14%).  

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. Across various categories, 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.

In addition to brand switching, half (50%) of respondents are now shopping in other locations, such as local butchers or farmers markets, that are less impacted by supply chain issues. Just under half (43%) buy extra of the products they need once they come back in stock, and one in five (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. Two-thirds (67%) of shoppers feel disappointed and frustrated when they see empty shelves and missing products, while for some, 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. One in three (30%) have created a ‘Covid kit’ filled with medicines they may need if they get sick, while one in four (26%) are ensuring they have enough pre-prepared food in the fridge so they don’t need to cook if they’re feeling unwell. A quarter (27%) of respondents are also ensuring they have a supply of rapid antigen tests (RAT) available on hand if they need.  

Toluna Australia & New Zealand country director, Sej Patel said the ongoing issues with product unavailability are affecting shopping behaviour.  

“Australian shoppers are clearly frustrated by the continued supply chain issues and are changing their behaviour as a result. Our research shows that 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,” he said.

“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.”