A new survey from Gallup released today shows that more Americans have adopted low-contact methods of getting their food since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The survey found that 44 percent of U.S. adults picked up takeout from a restaurant in May (up from 26 percent at the end of March), and 36 percent used curbside pickup from a store (up from 19 percent in March).
While your first reaction to this news might be “Duh, we were on lockdown,” you’re not wrong. I mean, restaurants across the country had to close their dine-in service, so the only options were takeout and delivery. The Gallup survey is worth pointing out because data is better than anecdotes, and this study adds to a growing body of market research around our pandemic behaviors.
And sure, stats on increased restaurant takeout might not be too surprising, and the growth for curbside pickup is and will something to keep an eye on. Almost double the number of people are doing curbside pickup now since the beginning of the pandemic. And while Gallup’s poll only breaks out curbside pickup “at a store,” and not specifically a grocery store, the survey’s findings are in-line with other recent research on the growth of online grocery shopping.
A Brick Meets Click survey from earlier this month reported that online grocery sales hit $5.3 billion in April, with 40 million people shopping for groceries online. A Coresight survey also from this month predicted that online grocery shopping will grow by 40 percent this year to hit $30 billion in food and beverage sales.
While takeout and pickup have seen big increases over the past couple of months, delivery hasn’t seen a similar spike. According to that same Gallup survey, 23 percent of respondents had food or pizza delivered from a restaurant in May (up from 13 percent in March), and 14 percent had groceries delivered (up from 11 percent in March).
The bigger question looming over all of this data, of course, is how many of these behaviors will become permanent. As states around the country start to relax their shelter in place orders, we’ll have to see if people revert to the pre-pandemic patterns or have adopted totally new ones.