The retail landscape is shifting as the pandemic has decreased demand at restaurants and increasing demand at grocery stores.

“Consumer demands have changed and COVID-19 has driven a digital transformation within grocery stores and the food service industry,” explains Stephanie Budynski, coordinating researcher with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. “Both have had to provide alternative delivery methods and an increase in digital touchpoints.”

Click-and-collect services offered by grocery stores gained in popularity almost overnight. She says that according to studies, 9% of Canadians are starting to shop for their groceries online for the first time. Another survey from early April showed 30% of Canadians shopping were shopping online for groceries – a 58% increase from 4 weeks earlier.

“Companies that offer click-and-collect services had to scale up those services rapidly during this time because of increased demand. For example, order volumes were reported to be 3 times higher than in pre-pandemic times for Loblaw’s PC Express service. Foodservice distribution companies have also adjusted their business structure to include online grocery stores with click-and-collect services.”

Grocery delivery services such as Instacart, Innabuggy and SPUD have also grown in select cities in Alberta.

During this time, surveys show that 9 out of 10 restaurants that offered takeout or delivery had to add another revenue stream, such as off-sales alcohol. They also had to change how they interacted with their customers. Food delivery services had to adapt as well.

“Although there are indications that use of food delivery services is higher than pre-virus levels, consumers have begun to order through a restaurant’s app or website,” she notes.

Trends in Retails includes an annual and quarterly analysis of retail and food service sales trends in Alberta.

Read the latest issue of Trends in Retail (PDF, 503 KB).


Connect with Stephane Budynski:
Email: [email protected]

For media inquiries about this article, call Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s media line:
Phone: 780-422-1005