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March 11, 2020

Nielsen: Coronavirus Changing Shopping Habits

SN: "In response to the spread of COVID-19 today officially declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization — consumers are changing their shopping behavior in ways that could shape future buying patterns, new research from Nielsen finds.These consumer behaviors encompass six “thresholds” as shoppers react to the advance of coronavirus worldwide and how incidence of the virus approaches their communities and begins to affect the way they live, Nielsen said in an analysis released yesterday. The thresholds give early signals of spending trends for health supplies and emergency pantry items as well as changes in the way consumers are making purchases, the researcher noted... What’s more, the behaviors are being “mirrored” across multiple global markets and are linked to news cycles charting the COVID-19’s advance. “The outbreak has already caused an array of changes in shopping behavior, and we’re focused on understanding the ones that will come next, how long they’ll last and whether any will stay with us after the outbreak is behind us,” Scott McKenzie, Nielsen global intelligence leader, said in a statement. At the first threshold stage, consumers engage in proactive health-minded buying, showing increased interest in products supporting maintenance of health and wellness. This comes with news of local COVID-19 cases tied to people arriving from an infected country, according to Nielsen. Next, as the first reports of “community spread” and local COVID-related deaths emerge, shoppers shift to the second stage: reactive health management, in which they focus on purchases to prevent catching the virus and spreading to others, such as face masks, hand sanitizers and disinfectant products. For the week ending Feb. 29, Nielsen reported, YoY dollar sales at all U.S. outlets jumped 313.4% for hand sanitizers, 475% for household maintenance masks, 114.5% for medical masks, 80.4% for thermometers, 99.6% for aerosol disinfectants, 59.6% for bath and shower wipes, 52.3% for first aid kits and 14.7% for supplements. In food and beverages, U.S. dollar sales for the week ended Feb. 29 climbed 322.5% for oat milk, 36.9% for dried beans, 31.8% for canned meat, 158.3% for fresh meat alternatives, 84.4% for powdered milk products, 25.3% for rice, 24.9% for tuna, 11.3% for water and 10.4% for pasta"... [Story contains more specifics, and charts summarizing findings.]

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