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Imagine a world without supermarkets? If you thought the world could survive without supermarkets, the events of COVID-19 would make you doubt that thought.

The emergence of eCommerce giants such as Amazon, Shopify, and other smaller players gave the whole world another option. Despite the amazing growth of these eCommerce businesses, strong retail chains such as Walmart and Aldi supermarkets are still waxing strong.

With the threat posed by eCommerce businesses and the eye-opening COVID-19 lockdown that posed many problems for the retail business, supermarkets are quickly adapting to the changing times.

As many people are busy and do not have time to visit the shops in person or check their printed action flyers, supermarkets have long prepared for the crisis with their online leaflets (such as the T&T supermarket flyer), which helps buyers take advantage of amazing discounts and other deals.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, supermarkets such as T&T, Metro Inc., Loblaw Companies Limited, Sobeys Inc., and Jim Pattison Group saw an increase in sales. How did these supermarkets get more sales in a pandemic? They increased their online presence.

Multiple statistics show that Canadians bought more products online during the COVID-19 pandemic than before it. A significant portion of the purchasing was spent on supermarkets and groceries. The supermarket and grocery store industry in Canada is currently worth $103 billion and expected to grow further.

The future of supermarkets is only gloomy for those supermarkets that will fail to make crucial shifts according to changing consumer patterns and other lessons the COVID-19 pandemic taught us.


The supermarkets that succeeded in 2020 did so because they had adaptable systems that helped them profit from the economic havoc that the COVID-19 pandemic brought. Those who had the infrastructure for online demand and delivery fared better than those who did not.

With physical stores closed for some periods, many supermarkets had to find alternative ways to survive. Many supermarkets had to embrace technology to generate extra sales and bypass limitations such as government lockdown measures.

Changing Consumer Buying Patterns

Every retailer and supermarket owner knows how fickle the consumer is. Changing consumer patterns is an event that many supermarkets are well prepared for. The COVID-19 pandemic reminded us about just how quickly consumer buying patterns can change.

Items such as toiletries, wipes, nose masks, and hand sanitizers which have a fairly constant demand, all of a sudden went out of stock as COVID-19 lockdowns kicked in. Supermarkets that were smart enough to stock their stores with these items recorded a lot of sales in that period.

Online Services is a Goldmine

Before the COVID-19 pandemic started, many supermarkets only operated physical stores and did not pay much attention to online services.

At the peak of the outbreak, people were afraid of going out to supermarkets to buy the items they need because of fear of coming home with the virus. Online deliveries skyrocketed in that period, with many supermarkets suspending their delivery services temporarily because of the massive and unprecedented demand.

In the US, 80% of consumers used online services to buy their groceries. Many supermarkets focused on their order pickup and delivery capabilities and even partnered with delivery companies to generate more sales.

The Future is Here

The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. With the breakthrough and admission of COVID-19 vaccines, it is just a matter of time before the world defeats this monster. Will we return to our normal lives, or are we entering a new normal?

For supermarkets, the lessons learned from this COVID-19 pandemic are already shaping their future. Only supermarkets that are adaptable, can take advantage of changing consumer buying patterns, and offer online services will thrive in the future.

This content is a joint venture between our publication and our partner. We do not endorse any product or service in the article.