New survey findings from Category Partners hint at how consumer groups are responding to COVID-19. ( Category Partners )

A recent survey by Category Partners found that 47% of consumers say their household is bringing in less income due to COVID-19.

Seventy-nine percent of respondents said they are taking steps to save money on groceries, according to a news release. More than a third say they are more often buying what is on sale (36%), and a similar number report taking measures including buying value packs (35%), buying more store-brand items (34%), seeking coupons or other discounts (33%) and avoiding expensive items (32%). Twenty-three percent also say they are now shopping at lower-cost stores in an effort to spend less on groceries.

“As the lockdowns continue, and the financial stress of the pandemic worsens, we think these cost-cutting behaviors will continue and even increase,” Cara Ammon, senior vice president of research and market intel for Category Partners, said in a news release. “In the face of economic uncertainty, consumers will likely continue to look for ways to save money at the grocery store.”

The firm found that people 45 or younger are more likely to have been affected financially by the pandemic, with 57% reporting they or their significant other have experienced a pay cut or lost a job.

“Interestingly, as we look at the relative size of negative financial impacts between the age groups, even though a greater proportion of younger consumers have felt the hurt, it is older consumers who are modifying their purchase behavior on a greater scale,” Ammon said in the release. “We were also able to observe some regional variation in the responses. For example, consumers in the Midwest are more likely to look for sales, and consumers in the South are more likely to switch to store brands as cost-cutting measures.”

Category Partners also found that consumers with a household income of less than $50,000 are more willing to shop at retailers they perceive as offering lower prices. Among higher-income households, consumers are more likely to be loyal to their primarily retailer but are still seeking deals.

“It goes without saying, many people are hurting,” Ammon said in the release. “Producers and retailers can help. Understanding what and how their customers are shopping and responding can go a long way toward being good neighbors in this crazy time.”